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Government today April 6 signed a $543 million agreement with telecommunications companies LIME (Cable and Wireless) and FLOW (Columbus Communications) to build out a high-speed island-wide broadband network.

The signing is a major step towards bringing affordable and consistently high quality Internet delivery to all secondary schools, post offices and public libraries in Jamaica. Under the terms of the agreement, the providers will be held to the agreed standard of 99.9% availability; and high speed transmission of 100 megabits per second on the backbone.

In his remarks at the Jamaica House signing, Minister Vaz said, "On Monday March 21, 2011, Cabinet approved the award of contracts to Cable and Wireless and  Columbus Communications for the provision of a managed island-wide broadband network, not only for providing connectivity and Internet access to our targeted schools, libraries, and post offices.  Any community, however remote, which has a public secondary or high school will be provided with facilities for Internet access.  The spin off benefit of this Project is that the deployment of high speed Internet services in the associated communities and within communities traversed by the optical fibre cables can be accelerated. 

We charge the telecommunications providers to urgently complete the necessary arrangements for businesses and residents within these communities to be provided with broadband access. We would like to see the whole country provided with broadband access within the shortest possible time."

Funding for the build-out of the island-wide broadband networkis from the Universal Access Fund Company Limited (UAFCL), which manages the Levy charged to telecommunications companies for incoming international calls into Jamaica. Already, the Fund has provided approximately $2.4 billion for teacher educationand school projects through the e-Learning project. 

"Internet services is a critical and important ingredient in national advancement and economic development, we have developed and are pursuing deliberate strategies for accelerating the deployment of high-speed connectivity throughout the length and breadth of the country. Today we will execute an agreement with FLOW and LIME to provide a high-speed island-wide broadband network…..We are committed to pursuing every available strategy to grow the national economy, and this island-wide broadband initiative is consistent with that objective," Minister Vaz said.

 

Issued by: The Office of the Prime Minister