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Government Unveils National Broadband Infrastructure Plan

Minister Daryl Vaz


December 17, 2020 | By Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie |

National Broadband a game changer?

It was not so long ago that the PM announced a National Broadband plan.  Today more details were unveiled with implimentation  committees announced, coupled with proposed budget of over 200 million dollars.

Speaking at the virtual press launch chairman Michael Lee Chin, a Jamaican Canadian banker said:

“808, 000 of our labour force is untrained.  Murder rate 49 per thousand. The new equipment will connect our police stations and court houses.  Jamaica ranks 74 of 120 in the region as for doing business.  Improving effeciency aids in improving the purchasing power of consumers to the private sector.  Private sector partnership with NCB with 50 bliliion donation & JMM with 10 billion donation. It has to be rolled out at an affordable rate. Also announced was a National Information Advisory Council beaded by Wayne Chen.

Michael Lee Chin- Chairman

Mr. Lee Chin outlined some of the benefits to be derived from this new national Broadband Infrastructure. They are as follows:

“This infrastructure will contribute to the digital economy,  GDP growth, to make Jamaica a Regional Hub.

Well if you can achieve that, then a statute will be built to Minister Daryl Vaz.  Further beneficiaeies will be Agriculture and the Manufacturing ICT Industry”.

Mr. Lee Chin went on to further outline certain laudable objectives:

“Success is 10 strategy and 90 percent implementation.  This is a powerful team. There is great enthusiasm and they are purpose driven.’

The newly appointed chairman outlined as he concluded his remarks.

Time lines

Phase 1 in 6 months

1) description of project (done)

.2. Technical specs done

3 Digital agenda across the island

4) Legal access across spectrum

Right of way and spectrum (ongoing)

Police Stations 60+:percent and schools 

“My dream is to see every Jamaican own a piece of the rock, every Jamaican to own this asset. Every Jamaican to own so we can maintain this asset.

Implimentation is key.  “Cliff Hughes, a journalist and media owner was concerned about “implimentation.”

Minister Vaz

The Minister said:  “Thank you Mr. Garcia from the IDB for  your technical support.  Transparency and trust is key.  Cabinet has approved the various boards.  This ministry is the break it or make it for me. The board appointments are of the highest integrity.”

The Energy Minister Hon. Daryl Vaz did not mention a board regulatory agency the OUR.  The new board for Petrojam has been put in place.

$200 + million in investment of 1,500 KM of fibre Optic Cable.  Donation from the Spectrum Management Authority of $24 million dollars. This is firstly a COVID response.  Medium and long term team.  Last mile connection.  Mobile 56 percent. Penetration is key.

New Mobile Entrant

There be granted a 3rd cellular liscense … January 21. Request for proposal will be made in the First quarter of 2021. Look forward to third entrant to telecoms market.

NW St. Catherine … Opposition spokesman on telecommunications is on board.

Why not open up Request for proposal to all players of 4G to 5G roll out. PBCJ is an upgrade from analog to high resolution fibre and multi-channel for example for schools. To move from single channel to multi-channel system.

We met with Flow last Friday and will meet next with Digicel next.  Their input and suggestions are critical.

Chris Dehring wanted to know if it is an upgrade or a new channel outlay.

The world is moving away from analog.  Fibre optic is the way to go.

Minister Vaz responded:

“We are wide open to suggestions … we will operate an open door policy. The Opposition is on board. That is the way to build a better Jamaica. The National Broadband Network.”

The Minister concluded.

Commentary

Let us see how it will work. These are really ideal goals. Will it be effectively implemented?

Current Consumers

Do not abdicate …

The government has been tardy as it relates to ensuring that there is improvement in the deteriorating quality of service being received by us all.  For example: Data is stolen and unilateral contracts are executed without consumers prior approval.  Just to name a few of the chronic ills being experienced by the helpless consumer. Minister Daryl Vaz cannot be seen to be abdicating his responsibility by not appearing to be advocating for the consumers who elected him to his high office … that of Minister.

Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie is a veteran journalist with telecoms experience and looks forward to this new broad band infrastructure.

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