Lessons from Haiti's Internet Development
journal contributionposted on 01.01.1999, 00:00 by Jon Peha
Haiti does not appear to be the most fertile ground for Internet growth. It is a poor nation with a low literacy rate, difficult terrain, and few working telephone lines outside the capital city. Despite these impediments, resourceful entrepreneurs have sought to offer and expand Internet services, and have sometimes explored unconventional technical approaches. Haiti now has four commercial Internet service providers (ISPs), and Internet services are available in five Haitian cities. This paper will provide a brief description of today's Haitian Internet sector. The Haitian experience demonstrates that the shortest path to Internet infrastructure in developing countries may be radically different from the paths taken in wealthier nations. It also shows how policies regarding spectrum management, international telephone service, ISP licensing, and resale can impact Internet growth.