Caribbean Internet Forum (CIF)
The Caribbean Internet Forum (CIF) was established as a regional forum for exploring strategies to reduce existing barriers to the effective use of ICTs in the facilitation of social and economic development in the Caribbean. These challenges variously relate to availability of infrastructure; access costs; technological capabilities; policy and regulatory frameworks; coordination at the national level; harmonization across the region and weak partnerships between public sector, private sector and academia. The CIF seeks to address these key issues by engaging the collaboration of stakeholders including regulators, policy-makers, small and medium sized enterprises, telecommunication providers and other stakeholders.
The precursor to the Caribbean Internet Forum was the Jamaica Internet Forum (JIF), the first held in Jamaica in 2003. This event was hosted by the Jamaica Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) and its principal theme was improvement of access by countries within the region, particularly among rural underserved communities. The second JIF was held in Jamaica in May 2004.
In 2005 the scope of the JIF was expanded to cover the region and that year the third forum, the Caribbean Internet Forum (CIF) was held in Barbados. The event focused on the external connectivity deficit as well as further assessment of the extent of access availability, levels of utilization and the quality of such access.
The Fourth Internet Forum, CIF IV, was hosted jointly with UWI's MRP (Telecommunications), Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) and the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) in Grenada over the period October 31 - November 2, 2006. Its theme was 'Towards a Regional Caribbean Internet Governance Framework'.
The fifth CIF was held in St. Lucia over the period November 5th - 7th, 2007. Its theme was 'Harnessing the Internet for Caribbean Development'.
The UWI's MRP (Telecommunications) programme will join ECTEL, CTU and other sponsors in hosting the sixth CIF in Trinidad, October 29 - 31, 2008. The theme for CIF 2008 will be 'The Mobile Internet for Development'.