- Residents of St. James have welcomed the commissioning of free secured Internet access (Wi-Fi) in Sam Sharpe Square, Montego Bay.
- The installation was undertaken by the Universal Service Fund (USF), an agency of the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology (MSET).
- Montego Bay resident and university student, Candace Brown, in an interview with JIS News, said the Wi-Fi access is a great idea “because sometimes you don’t have any data on your phone and you want to send a quick message to friends, so you can meet up. I think it is really good”.
Residents of St. James have welcomed the commissioning of free secured Internet access (Wi-Fi) in Sam Sharpe Square, Montego Bay.
The installation was undertaken by the Universal Service Fund (USF), an agency of the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology (MSET).
Montego Bay resident and university student, Candace Brown, in an interview with JIS News, said the Wi-Fi access is a great idea “because sometimes you don’t have any data on your phone and you want to send a quick message to friends, so you can meet up. I think it is really good”.
Ms. Brown added that the Wi-Fi will also prove useful to her academic life when she is in the vicinity of Sam Sharpe Square.
“If I want to send a quick file to my teachers, I can do so. So I think that it (Wi-Fi) is very convenient to everyone who is going to school or otherwise; so, thanks to the Government,” she said.
For her part, Montego Bay resident, Althea McBean, told JIS News that the free Wi-Fi will be a useful tool in case of emergencies in the town centre.
“In case I have an emergency and don’t have any data on my phone, I can call for help using the Wi-Fi, so I think it is very good idea, very innovative,” she said.
The Wi-Fi hotspot in Sam Sharpe Square is the first of four to be installed over the next few months. Other parishes set to get free Internet access are Portland, Clarendon and St. Ann.
Other public Wi-Fi hotspots already in operation include Half-Way Tree, St. William Grant Park, Olympic Way, Devon House and Emancipation Park, in Kingston; the Cecil Charlton Park in Mandeville, and in Junction, St. Elizabeth.
During the commissioning ceremony in Sam Sharpe Square recently, Chief Executive Officer of USF, Daniel Dawes, said that putting the Wi-Fi in place formed part of the organisation’s strategic direction “to ensure that Jamaicans, particularly the young, the old, the financially challenged, persons with disabilities and everyone in-between, can have access to the Internet, and by doing so, improve their lives”.
He added that the free Internet access should not only be used to send messages and upload ‘selfies’ but should be used to source information, among other constructive activities.
Meanwhile, Executive Director of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), Dr. Carey Wallace, said that from a tourism standpoint, the commissioning of Wi-Fi in Sam Sharpe Square augurs well.
“Tourists, more and more, are looking forward to [visiting] countries that have Wi-Fi access … and we in the Ministry of Tourism are pleased, and [we] congratulate the USF for bringing this infrastructure and this access to provide more and more areas in Jamaica to become Wi-Fi-accessible and Wi-Fi-friendly,” he said.
“We want Jamaica to become a smart destination, a smart island, somewhere that when tourists visit they can be assured that the infrastructure is in place, so that they will have access to Wi-Fi wherever they go on the island,” Dr. Wallace added.
He encouraged citizens to take advantage of the opportunity that free secured Internet access provides.
“This is an opportunity for you to participate in the tourism pie, because all the technologies are here, the Airbnb, the tourism linkages that come, which are providing access for purchasing managers in the hotels to purchase from farmers anywhere you are. If you are a manufacturer, you can go online and sell your product and have access to the tourism trade,” he pointed out.
Director of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce, Mark Kerr-Jarrett, in his remarks, thanked the USF for putting the Wi-Fi in place.
He argued that the free secured access to the Internet should be used for “edification, career advancement as well as the increase of knowledge”.
Since its inception, the USF has assisted in the provision of Internet service through more than 300 Community Access Points (CAPs) across the country.