Billions Invested in ICT Since Liberalization


Minister of Industry, Technology, Energy and Commerce, Phillip Paulwell, has said that the liberalization of Jamaica’s telecommunications industry and the opening of the market to competition, have led to billions of dollars being invested in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector.
This development, he noted has enabled increased access to fixed and mobile telephones, computers, the Internet, and other appropriate technologies. “Jamaica is a prime example of a developing country where private investments have led to dramatic expansion of the telecommunications sector, especially in mobile telephony,” Minister Paulwell stated in his message to mark World Telecommunication and Information Society Day on Thursday, May 17.
He noted that Jamaica ranks among the highest in the region with respect to teledensity, while access to broad band infrastructure is gaining momentum; e-commerce has connected businesses for increased productivity and profitability; and e-government is enhancing the delivery of cost-effective public services.
In terms of affordability and accessibility, Minister Paulwell pointed out that telecommunication products and services are now cheaper and more reliable than ever before and there is a dramatic increase in the amount of young people, who are benefiting from e-learning and distance education and training.
According to the Technology Minister, the government’s vision “is to see Jamaica become an inclusive, development-oriented, knowledge-based society that achieves economic and social growth through the integration of ICTs into all aspects of the nation’s life.”
This, he pointed out, will be achieved through renewed focus on human resource development, the establishment of infrastructure, reforming the legal and regulatory frameworks and bridging the digital divide.
Turning to the theme for World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, which is ‘Connecting the Young’, Minister Paulwell pointed to the need for the “continued development and implementation of policies, the appropriate application of creative technological solutions and the implementation of innovative business models that will empower our young people and motivate them to realize their full potential.”
World Telecommunication Day is celebrated annually on May 17, to mark the founding of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention in 1865. It was instituted by the Plenipotentiary Conference in Malaga-Torremolinos in 1973.
In November 2005, the World Summit on the Information Society called upon the United Nations General Assembly to declare May 17 as World Information Society Day to focus on the importance of ICT and the wide range of issues related to the information society. The General Assembly adopted a resolution in March 2006 stipulating that the day shall be observed every year on May 17.

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