The Universal Service Fund (USF) has provided millions of dollars in support to libraries and educational institutions as the entity continues to carry out its mandate to provide 100 per cent Internet penetration across Jamaica.
Speaking at a recent JIS Think Tank, Chief Executive Officer at the USF, Suzette Buchanan, told JIS News that the Jamaica Library Service (JLS) has received $13.9 million to boost Internet access for users.
The JLS’s Director General, Karen Barton, said the USF “supports our Internet system by providing broadband access to over 40 of our libraries”.
She explained that there are some libraries in areas where the JLS is unable to get support from the Internet providers, so the USF has assisted in getting service to those areas.
In addition to the JLS, educational institutions have received support for the upgrading of Wi-Fi infrastructure.
These include University of the West Indies (UWI), which has received $166 million to outfit its 10 Open campuses; University of Technology (UTech), $20 million; and G.C. Foster College, $15 million.
Additionally, the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE) has received $87.5 million; The Mico University College, $46 million; Institute of Jamaica, $14.5 million; and the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, $17 million.
Ms. Buchanan said the USF has also provided infrastructure and software valued at $22.8 million to the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), to enable online streaming of the entity’s cultural events.
“We at the USF have a responsibility to create a knowledge-based society through technology, and Jamaica is heading to that digital age, so we must prepare our people to fully utilise a digital Jamaica,” the USF CEO said.