FUNREDES is completing the information you have taken the initiative to publish in your gopher about networking in the Caribbean. Please, feel free to update your information base with this note (or with selected parts of it).
First of all, let us congratulate you for the useful and
comprehensive work you are realizing in collecting data on
networks in Developing Countries. Only recently, thanks to the
first Internet full connection in the Dominican Republic (see
note 1), we could get to visit
We also want to thank you for presenting, in your gopher, information about our organization (FUNREDES) and REDID (the Dominican research network). We sincerely appreciate this contribution in defense of pluralism.
The conditions are (at last!) present for the creation of REDID and FUNREDES.ORG internet nodes and subsequent gophers and webs (see note 2). It will take an estimated 4 months to get them in operation. We will then inform you and we could proceed to organize the required linkages.
As for Haiti (REHRED), I am afraid it will take an additional 3 months to get there (see note 3). Meanwhile, we will try to provide you with more accurate and up to date information.
In our last trip to
The report of CUNET is misleading when it presents the .DO figures. It should be specified that these figures are limited to PUCMM.EDU.DO (the CUNET component of Dominican Rep.) and that they do not include REDID.ORG/EDU.DO.
As you may know, the .DO domain, still under management in Puerto Rico, is shared by the two networks. With the imminent creation of, at least, two more Internet commercial providers (in fierce competition) and the migration of REDID to the Internet, the managing of the .DO by a Dominican entity is soon becoming a priority. This is a touchy issue, requiring fair concertizing between the involved entities. FUNREDES is taking actions to initiate and smooth the process.
As for the correspondent traffic and user figures for REDID.DO, they are shown in note 4 and 5.
You will notice that REDID ALONE represents as much traffic as the ENTIRE CUNET (including the CUNET .DO component)
To enhance the Caribbean perspective it will be worth having more data, in particular the corresponding Jamaican and Cuban figures. For Cuba, I hope the CENIAI Director can show the figures. For Jamaica, I hope the people of University of West Indies could provide corresponding figures.
In the persistent lack of user directories (or total user numbers) from CUNET, these figures are the closest way we got for approximation of the numbers of users in CUNET (see note 6). For those interested in methodology evaluation matters, they offer the most reliable indication, 3 years after the parallel start of REDID and CUNET. REDID was designed with the "REDALC methodology" (see note 7) which focuses in building the user base and institutions and relies in partnership with telecom operators (the Codetel company have been helpfully supporting the entire international and national telecommunication costs of REDID, since may 1992).
The point is hardly to compare projects in terms of methodology vs results. The question about what project is doing better is secondary. The real issue is, independently of how and with what project, TO GET MORE PEOPLE USING THE NETWORK IN THE CARIBBEAN RESEARCH COMMUNITY.
The installed base of CUNET is a lot better than nothing, but let's be fair: it is not enough. The traffic figures alone speak for themselves (and networking is much more than traffic).
The critical point is that, as an undesirable side effect of the excellent marketing of CUNET, funding agencies tend to consider that the RESEARCH NETWORKS PROBLEM IS SOLVED IN THE CARIBBEAN.
Unfortunately, THIS IS JUST NOT TRUE, although it does lead to DRAWING AWAY the badly needed SUPPORT, that otherwise would have been available for around here.
This issue calls for prompt action. It begins by recognizing the objective real situation. The rest should follows naturally, namely the assignment of the required resources, with participation of the key players in this field. The Caribbean is not another northern district (indeed it is not quite Latin America either), it has proved to hold a delicate mixture of values demanding a tactful approach.
It's still a long way to Caribbean integration, even in the cyber-Caribbean. . .
FUNREDES have repeatedly insisted that a "user connectivity" component was still missing to facilitate the research and academic users growth and institutionalization (as it is tried, for instance in Cuba and the Dominican Republic). By "user connectivity" (instead of "physical connectivity") we mean a comprehensive set of actions, from decision makers sensitization, user training, user group forming, to the production and organization of national and regional information base. The reinforcing of the level of institution and the technology transfer being the key criteria of success, besides the number of real and satisfied users.
FUNREDES have been unsuccessful so far to convey this message to those interested in the Caribbean and susceptible to support actions. As a matter of fact:
If the grass-root people are going to disappear, because of the lack of support, who will implement the nice strategies discussed in the regional meetings where several international functionaries gathered from all over the world to decide the future of other people who are not even involved in the process?
How about a 10% "field tax" collect on these meetings to go to the people who are doing the job, back in the field? That will probably be enough to maintain the field organizations alive without preventing these meetings to happen. . .
One can expect that the simple facing of these figures will give some matter for reflection to the funding agencies about the productivity of their investments and about the real importance and productivity of those who are struggling in the field, with reduced support, to keep grass-roots efforts going on.
How about a fair and constructive vision of Caribbean Networking?
Best regards from the Dominican Republic,
Daniel Pimienta and colleagues from Foundation Networks and Development (FUNREDES)
PO BOX 2972- Santo Domingo
tel: + 1 809 535 2422
fax: 535 6646
May 4th, the private company AACR announced the start of its service and its willingness to cooperate for totally free access to REDID members. This was reported in KISKEYA and SALSA lists. The two other telecom operators CODETEL and TRICOM are about to market their respective services (and, hopefully, complementary or alternative offers to REDID).
These results are obtained from partial data collected from both the codemail node and the UPR2 node. We are in the process to complete the data and cross-check the results. Meanwhile, one can use the average figures since there are strong and relatively stable patterns.
Stable observed patterns (period from 10/94 to 5/95):
Which makes the 30x2. = 60 Mbytes monthly figure we used.
The number of user per institutions varies from one unit to a maximum of 26 and 16, respectively for UNDP and PUCMM in Santiago (among the rare institutions having been capable to organize the REDID access via LAN). The NGOs are the most active users of REDID. Although connections are organized in several universities, the systematic in-networking of the Dominican universities is still a pending item in the national agenda (this issue escapes from REDID responsibility). Besides REDID and CUNET/PUCMM.DO, several BBS initiatives (as in INTEC) are trying to fill the gap, still open, for the students connectivity.
If one uses, as a projection factor, the ratio "data volume/user" of REDID (during the period 10/94 til 4/95) and backup it with some traffic assumptions, it is possible to guess some user figures for CUNET. Obviously, this is just an extrapolation, provided for the sake of comparison, and should be treated then as such. I wish that Cunet node administrators will correct the extrapolated figures and publish the real ones (together with the associated directories, so that to facilitate the in-Caribbean communication).
This comes from the simple scheme:
The variance is obviously very high, and then the extrapolation process is uncertain where the user figures is very low, as in most Cunet nodes (one single active user may generate as much as 20 times more Bytes than a slow one!).
It is worth noting that:
For the CUNET node, the average of the published data has been used.
ISO-CODE AVG MBytes PROJ. POPULATION COUNTRY COUNTRY Per Month USERS (MILLION) Antigua and Bermuda AG 1.06 2 .07 Bahamas BS 4.15 8 .25 Barbados BB 8.59 17 .26 Belize BZ 13.74 28 .19 Dominican Rep CUNET DO 3.62 7 7.00 ***Dominican Rep REDID DO 60.00 120 7.00 Grenada GR 0.63 1 .10 Guyana GY 0.10 1 .80 St. Lucia LC 11.72 24 .14 Vincent and Gren. VC 0.79 2 .11 Suriname SR 2.29 5 .42 Trinidad/Tobago TT 17.14 34 1.30 _________________________________________________________ TOTAL CUNET 66.92 129 10.64 TOTAL REDID 60.00 120 7.00
Note: If one takes into account the size of the population, some CUNET nodes (such as St Lucia and Belize) hold notable figures in terms of market penetration. It will be worth studying what factors have produced those interesting results.
The Chapter V ("A private hot tub vs. a public swimming pool") is particularly relevant to the point we are making, as it tries to show, in a humoristic fashion, that: "Building a network has much to do with the gathering of people under a common and structures organizational scheme than installing hardware and software."
REDALC WORKSHOP, Santo Domingo, 8/91: REDALC (Red de America Latina y el Caribe) is a project of Union Latina, funded by European Union and with the participation of Unesco and Funredes. The feasibility study of the project established the methodological framework for all the subsequent actions of the group. The partners will publish, by the end of the year, a comprehensive document about LA&C networking. There is no plan for execution though.
The REDALC Workshop, with official guests from Dominican Rep., Haiti, Cuba and Puerto Rico had a strong Caribbean component and served as genesis for the launching of the Peruvian, Dominican and Haitian networks.
IMPACT STUDY OF NETWORKS IN ANTILLES FRANCAISES, with Conseil Regional on European Union budget.
STATUS= Completed, June 92.
REDID, May 92-May 95: successively, PTT negotiation, launch, operation, technology transfer, technical assistance for the Dominican research network.
STATUS=well and alive, migration to Internet on the way.
REDID USER WORKSHOP, July 92: the first organized effort in the region to provide comprehensive and massive USER TRAINING (some 100 people attended this effort sponsored by European Union, co-organized with Unesco/Cresalc which allow the gathering of several key people in that field).
STATUS= Executed and documented.
CARIBBEAN NETWORKS FIRST REGIONAL WORKSHOP, May 93: the first project for the meeting of all Caribbean networks field actors, organized by the Cuban, Venezuelan and Dominican people.
STATUS= Last week cancelled because of lack of funding, never reorganized for the same reason.
Numerous meeting has been later organized in the Caribbean about networking, none with the presence of the principal field actors. Each year since 1991, a regional meeting is organized for LA&C networks, the absence of representation of the majority of the Caribbean networks is unfortunately the norm.
REHRED WORKSHOPS, May 93: the first step towards the Haitian network.
STATUS= Executed and documented
STATUS=On the move but badly needs funding.
STATUS= (average) ACTIVE
STATUS= (slow) ACTIVE
STATUS= (quite) ACTIVE
STATUS= Waiting for funding.
STATUS= Waiting for funding.
STATUS= Waiting for funding (and also for feed-back).
Note: If PSG.COM wish so we could provide a copy to be stored.
STATUS= Defined, waiting for funding.
STATUS= Fund hunting expected soon thanks to Bolivar Program's "Enlace" mechanism.
STATUS= ON ITS WAY.
STATUS= DEFINITION STAGE
STATUS= DEFINITION STAGE