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The Government will be putting into effect, rights-of-way measures, to streamline and regulate the conditions under which the placement of utility service or other facilities and materials, will be allowed across the island.
“This new concept offers fundamental scope for improved public service within the Ministry and the overall Government service, especially via fibre-optic telecommunication, and that we are moving into with real urgency,” said Minister of Transport and Works, Michael Henry, said, during his contribution to the 2008/09 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on May 28.
Noting the benefit of the initiative to the telecommunications sector, Mr. Henry said it would save on the billions that the Government pays for utility services annually.
“Imagine if the entire public service within the corporate area and within each parish was all connected as departments making extension telephone calls rather than calls from separate telephone numbers at separate entities. Just imagine the savings to the public purse and the greater public efficiency from having such closer inter-agency connectivity. Imagine the police, the medical services, the fire brigade, the army.all the emergency services connected by telephone as departments rather than separate agencies. That is where we are heading and that I intend to give Jamaica as a national present, courtesy of the Transport and Works Ministry, under my direction,” the Minister stated.
He informed that already, the Ministry has had some of the major telecommunications service providers sign on to the rights-of-way initiative and dialogue will be held with others.
“While it will impact negatively on their bottom lines, the public service having been their biggest overall customer, it is the nation’s ultimate good that is foremost in our minds, and it is what will be the ultimate winner in this case,” the Minister.
He invited the Jamaica Public Service Company, the National Water Commission, Cable & Wireless, Digicel, Flow and others, to meet with him to establish a proper working arrangement for implementation of the rights-of-way policy.
“From a combination of the huge potential savings in telecommunication costs to the Government, plus income from charges for the use of the public rights-of-way, we intend to generate the funds to tackle that 51 per cent of roadways, which need total resurfacing, and to extend our focus on rural and community roads,” Mr. Henry stated.