More free Wi-Fi hotspots com­ing

Jamaica Gleaner - - SOMETHING EXTRA -

IN A drive to fa­cil­i­tate greater In­ter­net ac­cess to Ja­maicans, the Gov­ern­ment will con­tinue to roll out free se­cured Wi-Fi hotspots in pop­u­lar pub­lic places across the is­land.

The ini­tia­tive is be­ing made pos­si­ble through the Uni­ver­sal Ser­vice Fund (USF), an agency of the Min­istry of Sci­ence, En­ergy and Tech­nol­ogy, which will carry out the in­stal­la­tion in the se­lect lo­ca­tions.

So far, the pop­u­lar her­itage site, Devon House, has been pro­vided with the free ser­vice.

This was noted by Min­is­ter of Sci­ence, En­ergy and Tech­nol­ogy Dr An­drew Wheat­ley dur­ing the fourth stag­ing of the Na­tional Dr An­drew Wheat­ley, the min­is­ter of sci­ence, en­ergy and tech­nol­ogy, speaks at the Na­tional Con­fer­ence on cy­ber­se­cu­rity at the Re­gional Head­quar­ters of the Uni­ver­sity of the West Indies, Mona cam­pus, on Tues­day. Cy­ber­se­cu­rity Con­fer­ence at the Re­gional Head­quar­ters of the Uni­ver­sity of the West Indies, Mona, on Tues­day.

Wheat­ley said the ser­vice will also be rolled out in Half-Way Tree and Eman­ci­pa­tion Park in Kingston; Span­ish Town, St Cather­ine; Mon­tego Bay, St James; and Ocho Rios, St Ann, as well as ru­ral cen­tres across the is­land.

“As a gov­ern­ment, we recog­nise that we have to em­brace tech­nol­ogy, and as we im­prove the way cit­i­zens do business on the In­ter­net, the Gov­ern­ment has com­mit­ted to re­mov­ing the bar­ri­ers to fa­cil­i­tate use of th­ese fan­tas­tic ser­vices, es­pe­cially as it re­lates to cit­i­zen-to-gov­ern­ment in­ter­ac­tions,” he said.

Wheat­ley added that other mea­sures in­clude zero-rated ac­cess to gov­ern­ment web­sites and con­tent, the Tablets in Schools ini­tia­tive, as well as the Smart City ini­tia­tive, which will be pi­loted in the New Kingston area.

He said the Smart City ini­tia­tive will be rolled out in the lat­ter part of 2017, with per­sons who live and work in the area find­ing them­selves plugged into tech­nol­ogy grids for the seam­less de­liv­ery of ser­vices.

In the mean­time, he urged Ja­maicans, par­tic­u­larly chil­dren, to be vig­i­lant with cy­ber­se­cu­rity is­sues, such as hack­ing, iden­tity theft, cy­ber­bul­ly­ing, among oth­ers.

The min­is­ter said the Gov­ern­ment has col­lab­o­rated with sev­eral agen­cies to un­der­take pub­lic-ed­u­ca­tion cam­paigns, such as the Ja­maica Bankers As­so­ci­a­tion and the Ja­maica Con­stab­u­lary Force.

More than one mil­lion Ja­maicans are on­line. The to­tal num­ber of mo­bile sub­scribers grew by 3.9 per cent last year to 3.3 mil­lion per­sons.

The two-day con­fer­ence was hosted by the Caribbean In­sti­tute of Me­dia and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion (CARIMAC), Uni­ver­sity of the West Indies, un­der the theme ‘Mo­bile Money, On­line Bank­ing and Cit­i­zen Aware­ness’.

More than one mil­lion Ja­maicans are on­line. The to­tal num­ber of mo­bile sub­scribers grew by 3.9 per cent last year to 3.3 mil­lion per­sons.

PA­TRICK PLANTER/ PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

2017 ROLL-OUT

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