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JIS News

Jamaica is expected to better its 41st position of last year, in the 2006 Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) e-readiness survey, which is due out at the end of the month.
While the 2005 survey scored the country well in terms of its business, legal and policy environments, it fell down in the area of connectivity, but with improvements in this area over the last 12 months, the country is expected to score much higher, said Michael duQuesnay, Chief Executive Officer of the Central Information Technology Office (CITO).
“That was a reflection really of the very poor level of penetration of Internet and the very low availability of broadband .but this has dramatically changed in the last 12 months,” he said, making particular note of the impending introduction of increased broadband accessibility to consumers.
The survey, which is done annually by the EIU, the business arm of the well-respected Economist magazine, last year ranked Jamaica 41st of 65 countries in terms of e-readiness.
Mr. duQuesnay told JIS News, that last year was the first time Jamaica was included in the survey. He noted that in carrying out the survey, the Unit selected countries that it considered to be more developed, and Jamaica was the only English-speaking country in the region to make the cut.
Jamaica’s 41st ranking placed it in the middle in respect of the Caribbean, the United States and Canada. “There are four countries that are ahead us – Chile, Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina, and there are four countries behind – Venezuela, Colombia, Peru and Ecuador,” Mr. duQuesnay pointed out.
In conducting the survey, six categories are used in determining a country’s rank and a possible score of one to 10 was assigned to each category.
Connectivity, “which has to do with the extent to which broadband and Internet services and voice services are available”, is one category Mr. duQuesnay noted.
The business environment, which refers to the legislative and regulatory framework, particularly associated with e-commerce, is another.
The remaining four categories, he added, were consumer and business adoption; the legal and policy environment; the social and cultural environment; and supporting e-services.
“We rank comparatively well in the areas of the business environment and in legal and policy environment, which is good, because those are hard things to set up,” Mr. duQuesnay remarked, noting that Jamaica had a low ranking in the area of connectivity.
He said that he was awaiting the results of the 2006 EIU e-readiness survey, which were due out at the end of April, with the research typically having been done in January and February.