Opposition Leader Marlon Penn has said he believes the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) and local internet service providers should find common ground to establish the long-discussed Internet Exchange Point (IXP) in the British Virgin Islands.
Effectively, an IXP is a physical infrastructure through which internet service providers exchange internet traffic between their networks.
Penn said an IXP is needed to manage the internet traffic that will arise from local social distancing protocols and school closures that government has now implemented in response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) threat.
“The reality is that an IXP; what it gives is flexibility to navigate traffic locally. So normally when you go to the internet you have to go to Miami all the way up to California and then come back. But with the IXP, that traffic can be routed locally,” Penn explained.
“This will better facilitate virtual meeting, virtual learning environments for teachers and students, and will facilitate better access to government services online,” he added.
Premier needs to put pressure on TRC and ISP
The Opposition Leader also called on Premier Andrew Fahie to put pressure on the two entities to get the IXP up and running in the territory.
He said: “I think the challenge that we’re faced with the IXP are things that are non-insurmountable, they are things that we could get done quickly and I think the Premier needs to put pressure on the TRC and the telecom providers to ensure that infrastructure is in place to facilitate persons working from homes.”
Faster broadband speeds also needed
Penn further made fresh calls for faster internet speeds and increasing internet coverage; this time to better facilitate persons working remotely during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“The TRC and the telecom providers need to work towards beefing up existing broadband speeds, and availability of service to facilitate the shift that will occur with the population working at home,” Penn said.
New TRC Board established to get the job done
Premier Fahie had made a public declaration in the House of Assembly recently that the newly-installed TRC Board was hired to solve the problems of poor internet service and the associated high bills that have plagued the territory for a number of years.
He instructed the Board to call on government for all things necessary to get the issue fixed in the BVI.