On day three of the CANTO 37th Annual Conference and Trade Exhibition, the presentations were predominately about regulations for the digital economy. Denis O’Brien, Chairman  & Owner of Digicel Group, highlighted a few suggestions to lower the regulatory and tax burden on both current and future telco investors in order to address the global internet penetration rate.


While noting the challenges for the digital divide, Mr. O’Brien focused on the solutions and urged for cooperation between CARICOM, CTU, CANTO and operators to achieve the policy objective of a Single Caribbean Regulatory Space in a similar manner to that of European Union and consolidation of network operators may be necessary.


However, the “Over the Top” (OTT) users, who include Google, Facebook, Netflix, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft, were also a hot topic. Six Big Tech operators account for 60% of all internet traffic. With a combined 52 percent of mobile data consumption, Google and Facebook dominate the ecosystems, forcing CSPs to reconsider their business strategies for the digital age. In response, there was a strong call for all businesses that profit from the use of broadband infrastructure to contribute towards the cost of its deployment.


While regulations were the driving conversations, other factors needed to address such as education and entrepreneurship. Education and literacy rates in the region raised concerns as a contributor to future working population as an estimated pandemic learning losses may translate into a drop in future potential aggregate earnings for the region of US $1.7 trillion.  This session lead straight in to the GTT sponsored Caribbean Entrepreneurship Roundtable with the discussion on what is required of Caribbean ICT sector to advance entrepreneurship in the region.  Mr. Orson Ferguson, COO- Business Solutions GTT lead this with his keynote and was joined by some esteemed entrepreneurs such as Yamilee Bastien, Commercial Officer, U.S. Department of Commerce Mami U.S. Export Assistance Center; Ayodele Pompey, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO), SmartTerm;  Tyrone Wilson, Founder and President, iCreate; Eldon Marks, CEO and Founder, V75 Inc. and  Keith Downer, Chairman & President, AEGEUS.


These entrepreneurs shared some interesting success stories that demonstrated how digital transformation can improve efficiency, customer value, resource efficiency, and, of course, profitability for any organization. Asking “why” when serving customers and then looking for the best solutions to meet their needs were two of the main lessons to be learned from this session. In that vein, digital wallets began a huge win for entrepreneurs on this panel. The “MYREADYCASH” digital wallet, according to Keith Downer, has defined a New Digital Eco-System for delivering money directly to community members via their mobile phones and facilitating payments across all consumer retail.


The day culminated with an award ceremony and networking session sponsored by FLOW on the ocean floor allowing attendees to engage in a relaxed environment with the traditional warm CANTO culture.