More Jamaicans are benefiting from Internet access this year, following the Government’s establishment of five new Community Access Points (CAPs) across the island.
The CAPs, which are Internet access facilities open to all members of a community, were established by the Universal Service Fund (USF) in Chapelton and May Pen in Clarendon, Ocho Rios in St. Ann, Port Antonio in Portland, and Annotto Bay in St. Mary.
Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Hon. Daryl Vaz, who made the disclosure during his contribution to the 2021/22 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on May 18, informed that functionality was also restored to the Olympic Way CAP site in St. Andrew.
Mr. Vaz noted that for the fiscal year, the USF increased the number of CAPs by seven and advanced work on an additional 11, “which we expect to complete by the end of the second quarter of the new fiscal year”.
The Minister informed that during the last fiscal year, the Government, through the USF, continued the provision of Internet access and facilities in unserved and underserved areas.
“More than $240 million was spent to support the public Wi-Fi hotspots, CAPs and the provision of devices to the education sector,” he said.
Turning to the assistance provided for the disabled community during fiscal year 2020/2021, Mr. Vaz informed that the USF targeted five disabled groups for support.
“The USF outfitted a computer lab for Genesis Academy, a school of excellence for students with physical and intellectual learning disabilities, to the tune of $5.4 million. The remaining projects will be completed in this fiscal year, due to the challenges associated with procuring large volumes of computer systems,” he said.
The USF is an agency of the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology, which is mandated to facilitate islandwide community Internet access.