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Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Hon. Daryl Vaz, says with nine public Wi-Fi hotspots established in major town centres across the island, Jamaica is on its way to becoming a digital society.

Speaking at a recent launch of the public facility in May Pen, Clarendon, Mr. Vaz said the provision of Wi-Fi hotspots is part of “our mission” to ensure that all Jamaicans have access to the Internet and forms a “significant part of transforming Jamaica to a truly digital society”.

“We see the provision of Internet as a public good, one in which citizens can have access to both the services of government, and other providers, in order to fulfil their various needs,” the Minister told his audience, adding that demand for Internet access is steadily growing.

Public Wi-Fi hotspots have been established in Kingston and St. Andrew, Manchester, St. Elizabeth, St. James, St. Catherine, and Clarendon. By the end of the year, others are expected to be established in Ocho Rios in St. Ann, Annotto Bay in St. Mary; Chapelton in Clarendon, and Port Antonio in Portland.

The hotspots are funded by the Universal Service Fund (USF).

The Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology has established more than 300 community access points (CAPs), with computers and Internet provision, while also equipping scores of public facilities, schools, health centres, and police stations with Internet access.

Mr. Vaz argued that Internet service has the “power to drive economic growth and contribute to our overall development, produce tangible products and services, which can enable us to grow the Jamaican economy”.

He also called on users of the public facilities to exercise caution with information that they give over the Internet, as fraudsters will seek to exploit this.

According to the Minister, the public Wi-Fi hotspots are established for “your convenience and development” and they must be used with care.

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