As the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) marks its twentieth year of existence, it is mindful that this commemoration is being done against the backdrop of the global fallout from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) estimates that 1.5 billion children from 188 countries have been affected by country- wide school closures due to the pandemic.
With this sudden shift from the classroom and from traditional work arrangements, the need for robust electronic communications networks and services have gained increased prominence.
In response to this demand, ECTEL has been working with the National Telecommunications Regulatory Commissions (NTRCs) in utilising the Universal Service Funds to provide subsidized broadband internet access and digital devices to students and other vulnerable members of society.
ECTEL recognises that the demand for broadband and digital services will continue to grow.
ECTEL remains committed to promoting access to quality and affordable electronic communications services in its Contracting States under the existing Telecommunications Act and Regulations. More importantly, ECTEL will endeavour to advance the promulgation of the newly developed Electronic Communications Bill and its suite of Regulations to address the challenges brought about by new and emerging issues such as COVID-19.