The USVI Broadband Initiative – Who’s got this?

The United States Virgin Islands finally has a way to reach out and pull itself closer to the rest of the world – the USVI Broadband Initiative.  Now that the territory has qualified for a grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration of the US Department of Commerce, it’s all a matter of breaking ground and laying cable, right?  Wrong.

In order to make this real, we have to comply.  From the structure of the governing body of the VI Next Generation Network to staffing requirements, we must walk the fine line from which no deviation from the path will be tolerated.

The government of the USVI applied for the grants and met preliminary requirements in a timely manner, but questions were raised by the community as to the need for the initiative here.  Vibrant public dialogue resulted in a clearer understanding of the program, its objectives, and the fact that we really do need this to meet the demands of the future.  Not 100% agreement, but acknowledgement by most who are in a position to benefit from the initiative.

Questions were raised as to the corporate structure of the VI Next Generation Network – no individual in the government could be permitted to profit from any proceeds.  This had to be addressed right away, and in my opinion, it is a shame that it should even have been the way the division was established.  It says to me that given the chance, some government officials will do things that are not, to me, altogether ethical. This type of behavior has been going on for so long, it’s seen as normal, but there you go.

Now, we are finding out that due diligence in terms of staffing and maintenance contracts is not yet complete, and the key has turned counterclockwise in the vault lock again.

I know how critical this project is to the US Virgin Islands – just think of the many opportunities for entreprenuers, the ability to work from home, the establishment of free computer centers and Wi-Fi hotspots, network redundancy to keep web sites, servers and communications systems going when the primary connection goes down for any reason… and the greater integrity of data transfer through broad channels.

I know in my heart that we need this, and by that token, I know in my heart that my government will turn the page and see to it that all is done for the good of we, the people.

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