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Story Highlights

  • The Universal Service Fund (USF) has invested billions of dollars over the last nine years to provide Internet access to Jamaicans across the island.
  • The Fund has completed a total of 188 Internet community access points (CAP) throughout the country at a cost of $626 million.
  • The agency has also completed some 11 special projects including those with the Jamaica Library Service, Jamaica Society for the Blind, Jamaica Constabulary Force, and the Commissioner’s Office

The Universal Service Fund (USF) has invested billions of dollars over the last nine years to provide Internet access to Jamaicans across the island.

This was disclosed by USF Chairman, Bishop Wellesley Blair, who informed that the Fund has completed a total of 188 Internet community access points (CAP) throughout the country at a cost of $626 million.

He noted that CAPs enable community members to use the Internet at minimal or no cost to them to facilitate research, bill payments, education, communication, business, marketing, and social networking.

Bishop Blair, who was speaking at the official opening of the Caribbean Palm Estate Information Technology (IT) resource and skills training centre in South West

St. Andrew on Wednesday (September 17), informed that the agency has approved financing for 236 community access points as at July 2014, of which 188 have been commissioned into service.

“The USF continues to do wonders in Jamaica,” he said, pointing out that the agency has also completed some 11 special projects including those with the Jamaica Library Service, Jamaica Society for the Blind, Jamaica Constabulary Force, and the Commissioner’s Office.

Mr. Blair said the USF is currently working on 65 new projects at different stages of completion, which are expected to cost the agency a total of $616 million.

“We have also budgeted over $1.4 billion for the Tablets in Schools pilot project, which was recently rolled out,” he said.

Additionally, he noted that the Islandwide Broadband Network project, in collaboration with LIME and FLOW, is also being implemented and is expected to provide islandwide coverage with initial connectivity in schools, libraries, and post offices.

The USF, which was established in 2005, is financed through a levy of  US$0.3 per minute on international calls to Jamaica, terminated to fixed lines and US$ $0.2 on calls to mobile lines.

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