August 18, 2014

Why blocking VoIP services is bad for consumers, region

#technology #social #development #caribbean

Technology Matters

“We are empowering individuals and businesses to get the best out of the internet when and how they want.”

Mark Linehan, CEO of Digicel Jamaica

In general, it is always troubling when private firms place their profit-driven interests above larger societal good. When such interests, impact open access to the Internet, and all of its services, the ramifications can undermine economies and disempower whole sectors of society.

The Internet has woven itself into every aspect of modern life. The laws and principles governing it shape economic and political decisions around the world and affect every industry, every business, and billions of lives. This is why the move by two major Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the Caribbean to block or throttle services from popular Internet applications such as Skype and Viber, do not augur well for consumer choice, entrepreneurial enterprise, or market growth.

This should be a point of grave concern to governments, regulators, businesses and consumers across the region. The action of these ISPs sets a dangerous precedent and could have a deleterious impact on efforts to leverage ICTs for both economic and social development across the region.

Look out for more articles by Bevil Wooding every Thursday in the Trinidad Guardian's Business Guardian.