JIS News

Commerce, Science and Technology Minister, Phillip Paulwell has challenged Cable and Wireless Jamaica to lower its price on broadband services, as there was an urgent need for greater bandwidth to allow more Jamaicans to access Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
He stated that Jamaica needed to be a “willing and vibrant” participant in the growing convergence of technology and technological devices, adding that this would require telecommunication operators to not only provide voice services, but data as well, so that the country could be a part of the knowledge-based environment.
Mr. Paulwell noted however, that the required infrastructure was not widely available as the cost of broadband was too high. “We can’t survive, we can’t be a knowledge-based society if the prices continue to be where they are and if we don’t have greater availability of broadband across the length and breadth of Jamaica”, the Technology Minister stressed.
He was speaking on Wednesday (Oct. 22) at the ICT4D-Jamaica Networking Event at the Terra Nova Hotel. ICT4D or ICT For Development is comprised of both technical and non-technical personnel that are committed to the growth of ICT in Jamaica.
The group, in collaboration with the HEART Trust/NTA, the Ministry of Commerce, Science and Technology and the International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD) staged an ICT conference in Kingston, in January this year, in order to develop a framework for an Action Plan on ICT.
The conference, which saw over 200 participants attending from Jamaica and overseas, was helpful in establishing partnerships for a unified and structured approach to the development of ICT in Jamaica. The meeting at Terra Nova was the first networking event since the conference.
Giving details on the work that ICT4D will undertake over the next year, the group’s Administrator and Director of Special Partnerships at the HEART Trust, Elizabeth Terry, said that a Think Tank would be established consisting of persons “committed to researching and creating ideas (as well as) providing advocacy for some of the uses and application of ICT”.
Additionally, she said that a project website was being developed using open source technology. Miss Terry explained that an information warehouse was being established online through the website, which would give information on projects and programmes in various areas. The areas include, tourism, agriculture, education and training, community development, livelihood opportunities and electronic governance.
She added that at least four workshops and seminars were planned to sensitise persons and would focus on the various activities that were earmarked for the year.

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