JIS News

Jamaicans stand to benefit from government’s decision to open up investment in submarine fibre optic cable, which will allow cheaper and easier access to the Internet.
Commerce, Science and Technology Minister, Phillip Paulwell, explained to JIS News, that expansion of undersea fibre would provide Jamaica with sufficient cable for the provision of broadband services to allow for speedier and cheaper access to the Internet, video streaming and a full range of electronic (e)-commerce transactions.
Additionally, he said, the success of the e-government project, now being undertaken, hinges on the provision of adequate bandwidth, which would allow persons to take advantage of the full range of government services being offered online. “Persons would be able to pay their income taxes, pay their GCT from remote locations and they will be able to have certain things processed like their import licences (and) their driver’s licences,” he said.He pointed out that the government hoped to establish the required broadband infrastructure through both wired fibre technology and wireless telecommunications.
Earlier this year, Cabinet gave the go ahead for the award of a contract to an international telecommunications provider for the laying of fibre optic cables.
Currently, Cable and Wireless is the only telecommunications company that has access to fibre optic cable in Jamaica.
Already, invitations for bids had been sent out to private investors and the bidding process is to be completed by early October.
Mr. Paulwell told JIS News, that he recently met with a number of interested investors, who were “keen on laying cables from Jamaica to the rest of the world”. According to the Minister, the successful investor would be granted the licence based on a competitive bidding system.
He added that the cost of the undertaking would be somewhere around $35 million to $45 million and observed that based on the proposals submitted by the various companies, the work could be completed by mid-year 2005. “The securing of the licence, the securing of the various approvals from the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) for the actual running and laying of the fibre could be done by June next year”, he informed.