KINGSTON — The Government has partnered with telecommunications companies LIME and FLOW, for the provision of a high-speed island-wide broadband network that will benefit all Jamaicans, including those in the most remote areas of the country.
Minister with responsibility for Information, Telecommunications and Special Projects, Hon. Daryl Vaz, on April 6 signed the $543 million agreement with the service providers at Jamaica House, which will provide for the roll-out of high-speed Internet connectivity to the island’s secondary schools, public libraries, and post offices over the next 18 months.
“Any community, however remote, which has a public library, secondary or high school, will be provided with facilities for internet access,” he said, noting that the plan is to increase the number of institutions throughout the life of the project.
According to the Telecommunications Minister, the five-year project will facilitate the rapid provision of high-speed internet service to a wide geographical area.
“It is anticipated to facilitate modern services such as video conferencing and more efficient use of our teaching resources through the establishment of virtual classes where resources are limited, to provide the requisite access to our server farm, hosting critical educational resources,” he said.
Minister Vaz said the providers will be held to the agreed standard of 99.9 per cent availability, with high speed transmission of 100 megabits per second on the backbone.
He appealed to the telecommunications providers to urgently complete the necessary arrangements for the connectivity of businesses and residents, noting that “we would like to see the whole country provided with broadband access within the shortest possible time."
“These services will facilitate business and entrepreneurial advancements within a wider geographic base and with this, stimulate community development and contribute to the retardation of the urban population drift,” he argued.
LIME Managing Director for Jamaica and Cayman, Garry Sinclair, said the project will bridge the digital divide, by infusing information communication technology (ICT) in education, and increasing access to ICT to the general population.
President and Chief Operating Officer, FLOW, Michelle English, noted that this is an important step in providing an integrated network that will benefit the country.
Funding for the build-out of the island-wide broadband network is from the Universal Access Fund Company Limited, which manages the levy charged to telecommunications companies for incoming calls into Jamaica.
By CHRIS PATTERSON, JIS Reporter