JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Top Mountain Computer Internet Access Point boasts 16 computers with broadband internet access.
  • Residents of the area, particularly the young men, are making full use of the facility, which has been in operation since November 2013.
  • The Project Manager thanked the Minister, and USF for equipping the facility, and informed that funds are being sought to install a solar system to cut down on electricity cost.

A new day has dawned for the community of Top Mountain in St. Catherine, where residents now have free access to information communication technology (ICT), through funding from the Universal Service Fund (USF) at a cost of $3.5 million.

The Top Mountain Computer Internet Access Point, which was officially opened by Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Minister, Phillip Paulwell, boasts 16 computers with broadband internet access, one printer, and furniture. It is housed at the Top Mountain Church of God of Prophecy.

Project Manager at the centre, Nellie Richards, said that residents of the area, particularly the young men, are making full use of the facility, which has been in operation since November 2013, to equip themselves in ICT.

“This project defies the odds and proves that young men will meaningfully engaged themselves,” she stated. “It is a great sign for the future,” she added.

She said that the centre, which has a part-time IT teacher, has provided full employment for two community members.

The Project Manager thanked the Minister, and USF for equipping the facility, and informed that funds are being sought to install a solar system to cut down on electricity cost.

Minister Paulwell, in his remarks, urged the residents to make good use of the broadband access, noting that “there is nothing that can modernize a town like access to the Internet.”

He further encouraged them to invest in technology in their homes. “Very soon, the youngster, who now has to pack a knapsack with 10 books costing thousands of dollars, will only need one tablet (computer); the world of information is right there at his fingertips,” the Minister said.

The USF was created in 2005 through a cess imposed on international calls terminating in the island. It has raised $11 billion to date, which has provided for the funding of 168 computer access points across the island, as well as close to 300 computer laboratories in schools.