Science, Energy and Technology Minister, Hon. Fayval Williams says the latest installation of Wi-Fi in the Corporate Area represents a significant step towards transforming Jamaica into a truly digital society.
“As a Ministry and certainly as a government, we understand the growing need for connectivity for our people and the need to become a digitally inclusive society where no one is left behind,” she said.
Mrs. Williams was speaking at Emancipation Park in New Kingston on March 22, where the seventh public Wi-Fi hotspot was officially commissioned into operation by the Universal Service Fund (USF).
Other public Wi-Fi hotspots already in operation include: Half-Way Tree; St. William Grant Park, in Kingston; Olympic Way, Kingston; Devon House, Kingston; the Cecil Charlton Park in Mandeville, and in Junction, St. Elizabeth.
The Minister noted that the Government is providing the tools necessary to positively transform lives, so that persons will be able to create opportunities, connect, communicate and build networks.
“As a Ministry, we are (also) committed to ensuring that Jamaica has the best information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure,” she indicated.
Mrs. Williams pointed out that the commissioning of the public Wi-Fi, injects a fresh and new way that Emancipation Park opened 16 years ago, can be used.
She encouraged users of the public Wi-Fi to be cyber safe and smart and not to use the technology to conduct banking transactions and other business.
For his part, USF, Chief Executive Officer, Daniel Dawes said his agency will continue to roll out of Wi-Fi hotspots across the country, “at a rate of four per year”.
He informed that public Wi-Fi will be installed in Sam Sharpe Square, Montego Bay, St. James in the first quarter of the 2019/ 20 financial year.
Mr. Dawes also pointed out that his agency is in discussion with a number of internet providers to expand the national broadband network to enable greater connectivity among schools, post offices, libraries and police stations.
The USF will also continue to finance the Tablet in Schools Programme and the E- Learning Jamaica Programme.
Since its inception, the USF has assisted in the provision of internet access through more than 300 Community Access Points around the country.
The entity has also assisted in the training of 700 young people under the Technology Advancement Programme (TAP), which resulted in their employment for nine months.