- Jamaicans are not benefitting fully from competition in the telecommunications market, due to the high Internet costs.
- The Minister said that part of the objective in bringing competition to the telecoms industry, was so that Jamaicans could get the most from broadband tools.
- The Government is making the necessary investments to ensure that communication tools are in every major community.
Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, says that Jamaicans are not benefitting fully from competition in the telecommunications market, due to the high cost to use the Internet, and he is determined to have the rates reduced.
Addressing the official opening of the Gregory Park Community Computer Resource Centre in Portmore on Wednesday, November 13, the Minister said that part of the objective in bringing competition to the telecoms industry, was so that Jamaicans could get the most from broadband tools, where they could create wealth via the Internet and access resources in health care and e-learning.
“We are not doing that well largely because those prices are still too high. Jamaicans…want to be on the Internet but it is too expensive, those prices have to come down,” he stated.
“We want to create a knowledge-based society in this country, we want to ensure that our people have access, and when we fought to open up the industry, it wasn’t just to enable us to talk. The (telephone) rates have fallen, so more people are talking, but that doesn’t get us to the knowledge-based society that we need,” he lamented.
Mr. Paulwell stated that the Government is making the necessary investments to ensure that communication tools are in every major community to enable the population, especially students, to have unimpeded access to the world of information.
He noted that the equipping of libraries, post offices, community centres with computer technology, is geared at ensuring that persons gain the skills that people in Korea and Japan use to transform their economies.
“What will get us there are the tools, the facilities that will enable us to have access to this world of information…. broadband telecommunications that will enable you to have very fast access to the Internet, where you can do things in real-time, manipulate information, exploit it to create wealth, use it to provide e-learning, and medical services,” the Minister stated.
The Gregory Park facility is equipped with some 15 computers, which were provided by the Universal Service Fund (USF).
Minister Paulwell commended the leadership of the Gregory Park Baptist Church for making the facility available to house the centre and urged the community to protect the equipment.