As government strives to boost the two pillars of the BVI economy – tourism and financial services with value added initiatives the less than adequate internet service is a matter of concern – a major problem often lamented by Premier and Minister for Finance, Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith in recent days. The lousy internet service was mentioned on two occasion recently — first at a press conference on 8 March and then in the House of Assembly on 14 March.
With the general public feeling that the so-called high speed proves itself time and again to be very disappointing, the e-mail service being virtually non-existent on weekends, and daily spoof and phishing messages trying to trick internet users into giving sensitive information to crooks who pose as telecoms there is very little positive feedback; many indicate that such a deplorable situation is not tolerated even by underdeveloped countries.
In the most recent mention in the House of Assembly Premier Smith announced that a reliable and efficient internet network is critical to propel the BVI to the forefront of the international Financial Services business: “We have to improve on our telecommunications. I think this is something that I said some time ago, and something which I know that the TRC is working very well with the various providers. And I expect hopefully in the not too distant future we will be able to get the broadband service that is required by the people who are working in this particular industry.”
On March 8 while disclosing Government’s plans to upgrade the Prospect Reef resort to a full-service business hotel with proper conference facilities, and in the process boost the BVI’s tourism offering the Premier also noted the need for better internet. “We want to continue to expand into the business traveller market offering a modern business centre, and conference rooms that meet the highest international standards. This is one of the reasons why reliable internet access throughout the Territory is important,” Hon. Smith said.
Premier Smith opined that “the government continues to have dialogue with these providers through the Ministry and through the TRC and we will continue to do that to make sure and encourage that they provide as far as possible the internet service that we need for the continued development of the areas that require fast internet service. This is important in all areas especially in the financial services where people need to have those services to carry out their work as we seek to attract more value added services to the Territory.”
Even in his budget address the BVI Leader mentioned his discontent with the current internet service. Premier Smith announced in his Budget address on January 16: “We expect to see an improvement in internet service this year with the awarding of spectrum in 2016.”