Dominica SWOT ICT

Small Country, Large Opportunities

Dominica LaptopDominica is a small beautiful island in the Caribbean known better for its lush ecosystem than its infrastructure and technology developments. With a population of about 70000 people there are many challenges as well as unique opportunities for this developing island state. The mountainous topography of the island along with efforts to preserve its natural heritage have no doubt contributed to its slower pace of development than its neighbouring islands but this by no means should be used as an excuse for taking advantage of the opportunities a continuously more globalized world has provided. There are in fact many investment opportunities in Dominica. Since I am involved in information technology as a certified computer technician and run an internet based business I see opportunities to leverage the power of the internet to improve the country’s other industries.

The Nature Island

Dominica is a beautiful country renowned for it’s rainforests, rivers, waterfalls and hot springs. All these natural resources can be and are promoted on the internet. Tourism is one of the main industries on which the country is focussed and there are opportunities to create websites and mobile apps targeted directly at tourists and visitors to the island.

Small Population

The small population of Dominica is often cited as a hindrance to development. This small population can be a strategic advantage for  various projects. All communities are with driving distance of at most a few hours making accessibility to a target audience a easier than in larger countries The internet penetration of over 50% and mobile penetration of over 100% the population is internet savvy and accustomed to using mobile phones. This fact has been identified for ambitious projects such as the island-wide Bit Drop.

Potential in Technology Sector

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has long been promoted in schools and there are many qualified IT professionals on island and in the diaspora. Integrating this knowledge with other industries could prove very beneficial. The manufacturing and agriculture industry could benefit from using latest technology for both production and marketing activities.

There is no magic solution to developing Dominica or other economies like it. The internet and technology however help even the playing field since the main requirement is knowledge and internet access. Hopefully more investment in this sector will see more jobs and opportunities opening up for such small economies.

Related Links

Discover Dominica Authority

Invest Dominica Authority

Internet World Stats

Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality Debate

Open InternetToday the Federal Communications Commission voted in favour of net neutrality rules which could have a major impact on how the internet works and how internet service providers handle internet traffic. This New York Times article explains what net neutrality is, how it works and what the proposed regulations mean. Currently all data transmitted across the internet is transmitted at the same speed regardless of which company or individual it is coming from. The idea being proposed is that companies can pay for faster internet speeds to transmit their data while those who do not enter into financial deals will be restricted to the regular speeds.

Opponents of these proposed rules believe that the internet should be open to everyone in the same way and that companies should not be able to buy preferential speeds. This would in effect give rich companies a significant advantage over start-ups and small businesses who cannot afford the to pay for the fast lane of internet connection to consumers.

Proponents of the proposed rules think that it is a commercially viable solution to the problem of bottlenecks large companies face in periods of high traffic. If these large companies can purchase faster internet connections their services can be improved and the final consumer’s experience can also be enhanced. The proposed rules also have clauses forbidding discrimination and promoting access to legal content. Infringements of these rules would have to be dealt with on a case by case basis.

As the owner of a company that relies heavily on the internet I believe in the importance of net neutrality where all data is treated equally. Imagine if large firms can offer internet based services via faster connections than smaller companies, how would these smaller companies be able to compete in an innovative way while restricted to “regular” speed connections? At SeizerStyle Designs we offer many websites that utilize databases and develop a lot of multimedia content.  If a competitor can provide these services faster it gives them a competitive advantage which is not based on the quality of the content but on the quality of the experience which was enhanced by preferential connections.

It is too soon to come to any conclusion on how the final net neutrality rules will be implemented and how it will ultimately affect the open internet. It is, however, time to raise concerns  about how regulation could affect the fairness and openness of internet access for consumers and businesses alike.