Barbados capital now prepared to be a 24/7 work hub
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Thursday October 20, 2011 - The Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) and telecommunications major LIME have signed a five-year memorandum of understanding that will make Bridgetown fully wireless internet accessible until 2016.
The $1.3 Million investment now sees Barbados become the first capital city in the Caribbean with a complete wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) network accessible by computer, smart phone and tablet.
During its launch in the city on Tuesday (October 18), BCCI president Andy Armstrong said the initiative was undertaken to in an effort to enhance Bridgetown’s international competiveness and reverse the downward trend of businesses moving away from The City.
“We want to get businesses coming back to Bridgetown and make it a vibrant city that we can all be proud of,” Armstrong said.
The network has more than 100 access points, and so far more than 50 businesses in The City and immediate environs have agreed to host the service. However, the service is only free until November 1.
On a separate initiative, the Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation (BEF) is pushing to make WiFi access across Barbados fully free by November 11, 2011, as part of their drive to see Barbados become a global entrepreneurship hub by 2020, which the BEF argues will be bolstered by the ability of residents to conduct their business anywhere, anytime, across the island.
LIME managing director Alex McDonald said that with the introduction of this service, Barbados was setting itself up for greatness.
He said that being the first to have a capital city with Wi-Fi Internet was sending a powerful message.
“It is a powerful, powerful message, for anything else after this is second.
No one will remember ‘well, we were the next after’ – they will always remember that a small island in the Caribbean Sea was first,” McDonald said.
Lalu Vaswani, chair of the Revitalization Of Bridgetown Initiative under which the Wi-Fi initiative falls, said the aim was to transform Bridgetown into a city of diversion. He explained that from the outset LIME indicated their willingness to partner with BCCI and committed to investing over $200 000 towards improved beautification of The City alongside its million-dollar-plus capital investment in equipment to provide Wi-Fi.
Wi-Fi hotspots include the Barbados Tourism Investment car park, Cave Shepherd, Caribbean Examinations Council Office, Kensington Oval, Atlantis Submarines, Queen’s Park, and Barbados National Bank.