Telecommunications sector in St.Vincent and the Grenadines plays a vital role in the economic and sustainable development of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The sector has experienced significant progress since 2001 since the enactment of the Telecommunications Act and the establishment of the National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC), which marked the first steps towards the liberalization of the telecommunications Sector. This has contributed to the introduction of competition in the mobile telephony market and resulted in reduced prices and increased service penetration. Further, Information Communications Technology (ICT) has been identified as a lever for the country’s transformation plans and the improvement of connectivity within the State and with other regional members so as to establish the foundations for further ICT services. In that sense, establishing a harmonized regional telecommunications market is crucial to increase the competitiveness in the region in the ICT sector, the visibility of its IT companies and thereby turn the Caribbean countries into an Information Technology (IT) and IT-Enabled Services (ITES) destination for foreign investment, which will translate into local jobs and spur economic growth. Furthermore, it would allow accelerating the process to integrate Saint Vincent and the Grenadines into the knowledge and information society boosting the country‘s presence and competitiveness in the digital market.
In terms of international connectivity, St. Vincent and the Grenadines is currently served by two submarine cables: Eastern Caribbean Fiber System and Southern Caribbean Fiber. However, there may be the case for additional communications capabilities to support the increase in traffic not only for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines but that of other countries connected to those cables such as Grenada. International connectivity is crucial to increase the country‘s competitiveness in two directions: (i) to compete internationally; and (ii) the competitiveness of the country itself to attract foreign investment.
Against that backdrop, the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (GOSVG) along with Grenada and St. Lucia have agreed to participate in a first phase regional programme called the Caribbean Regional Communications Infrastructure Program (CARCIP) which targets CARIFORUM countries. It will enable the participating countries to increase access to quality and affordable Information and Communication Technology (ICT) services. The SVG project which is 100 percent financed from the World Bank through a credit facility would be implemented over a 5-year period. It is estimated to cost US$6.0 million or EC$16.0 million. A regional grant of US$3.0 million (to be executed by the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) has been allocated specifically to facilitate the implementation of the CARCIP, to increase coordination, harmonization of policies and strategies and transfer of knowledge between participating countries. CTU will also coordinate the implementation of the relevant activities at the regional and national levels with Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) and Caribbean Knowledge and Learning Network (CKLN).