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    • Stronger penalties are coming for persons found to have stolen equipment and infrastructure used by telecoms service providers.
    • Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Hon. Fayval Williams, said the Government plans to shore up the existing policy and regulatory framework to protect investments in the sector and ensure more reliable connectivity for customers.
    • “I commit to working with colleague Ministers to strengthen legislation, such as the Larceny Act, the Malicious Injuries to Property Act and, yes, the Scrap Metal Regulations. Theft and vandalism exact a heavy toll on every one of us and jeopardise this country’s future,” she said.

    Stronger penalties are coming for persons found to have stolen equipment and infrastructure used by telecoms service providers.

    Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Hon. Fayval Williams, said the Government plans to shore up the existing policy and regulatory framework to protect investments in the sector and ensure more reliable connectivity for customers.

    “I commit to working with colleague Ministers to strengthen legislation, such as the Larceny Act, the Malicious Injuries to Property Act and, yes, the Scrap Metal Regulations. Theft and vandalism exact a heavy toll on every one of us and jeopardise this country’s future,” she said.

    Mrs. Williams was speaking during a statement in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (November 12).

    In the recent weeks and months, Jamaicans have been expressing frustration with the quality of service with the two major telecoms providers.

    These complaints range from dropped calls in the middle of conversations, which requires the parties to try to reconnect.

    She noted that one of the issues faced by operators is the rising incidence of theft of network equipment, for which there is a need for much stiffer penalties in order to give the telecoms providers a fighting chance at maintaining resilience in their network.

    Mrs. Williams said the Government is prepared to take a lead role to work with all the stakeholders, using its policy and regulatory levers, to encourage accelerated investments in infrastructure and to secure 100 per cent reliable connectivity across the island, including rural communities.

    “We have ideas about how to accomplish this and are willing and able to sit at the table with the telecoms providers and all the other stakeholders (financial, business process outsourcing and large and small businesses), to map out the path to getting this done,” she said.

    The Minister added that the Government has been having consultative meetings to develop a comprehensive strategic framework for the development of the information and communications technology (ICT) sector on the whole, and this includes addressing the gaps in infrastructure, and deciding on the policy levers to secure a better experience for all.

    “Telecoms service is vital to the financial sector, the manufacturing sector, to government, to small businesses, to large businesses and to us as individual customers,” Mrs. Williams noted.