In the age of Covid-19, countries and territories that are able to swiftly and robustly deliver digital services and products to their residents will win and prevail socially and economically.
The digital economy is here to stay, digitisation is the bloodstream of the local and global economy, and there have been huge complaints about the delivery of internet and related telecommunications services in the Virgin Islands over many years. It is long overdue for the society to tackle this matter.
The internet issue is limited bandwidth and the consequent slow — and even non-existent —internet service in specific places. This is the result of inadequate fibreoptic and wi-fi. The solution is much greater investment in the industry by government and investors.
Related to the preceding is the lack of an adequate and resilient network for the supply and distribution of power: Overhead lines can be impacted in the event of a bad hurricane. Burying electricity cables has been offered as the solution. Truth be told, the delivery of power has vastly improved in recent years, but power in this day and age need not be disrupted by a hurricane or even a violent rainstorm.
Telecommunications, internet services and power all depend upon a network of pipes, lines and cable that should be as resiliently placed and robust as possible to deliver durable, fast and effective telecommunications and related services. This is national hardware that is further linked with a global network of undersea cable and satellite that has turned the world into a global village technologically and literally.
Before the Covid pandemic, this internet conundrum may have been tolerable. However, with the move to home and remote working, and online learning, it is no longer so. Resilient and swift internet is a mark of social and economic progress.
In today’s world, swift internet access is a necessity. Like the learning and social infrastructure, power supply, sanitation and sewage, water supply, safe road networks, and ports, digitisation and internet are critical to life in every way imaginable.
Consequently, the inability to swiftly access the internet by the population is a debilitating conundrum that will hit a country where it hurts: in its standard of living, quality of life and economy.
Digitisation and the networks of computers, digital devices, and robotic-type equipment that digitisation drives, defines and enables modern-day life in every respect.
From the time the consumer gets out of bed in the morning until he closes his eyes at night, his world and daily activity is driven by digitisation and the internet. Life has become virtual: Digitisation is in the air we breathe.
In-fact, today’s organisation is driven by digitisation. From the moment the employee, manager or owner sits at a desk or engages in any task, until they leave work at the end of the working day, the day and its outcomes are controlled by the computer, cellular device, and various smart devices that supposedly make life easier.
The greatest evidence for the need for greater investment in the internet and telecommunications are the hindrances to online learning and remote working. A drop in the internet service cuts off people from engaging with each other online. This is frustrating and unproductive, and filters into the wider economy and society, limiting productivity.
Fix the internet, and we help the wider economy.
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