Thu | Mar 21, 2019

Wheatley, US's FCC Chairman hold talks on Jamaica's ICT sector

Published:Wednesday | July 25, 2018 | 10:07 AM
Minister of Science and Technology Dr Andrew Wheatley - File photo

Minister of Science and Technology Dr Andrew Wheatley this week met with the Chairman of the United States Federal Communications Commission Ajit Pai during the ongoing CANTO 34th Annual Conference and Trade Exhibition in Panama City, Panama.

CANTO is a leading authority in shaping information, communication and technology policies and programmes in the Americas and Caribbean.

CANTO is made up of operators, organisations, companies, and individuals in the information communication technology sector.

In a statement, the ministry said Wheatley informed Pai of the progress being made by the Andrew Holness administration in shrinking the digital divide, by giving more Jamaicans the opportunity to have access to computers and the internet.

It further said that he spoke highly of the myriad programmes and activities implemented by the Universal Service Fund and how these have given residents of several communities new avenues through which to earn and learn. 

"Wheatley spoke passionately about his and the Jamaican government’s belief in and support for a Free and Open Internet and Net Neutrality, especially those principles that support free speech and transparency.

"Given the almost daily expansion of the Internet of Things along with the mooted introduction of fifth generation mobile internet (5G), which promises download speeds up to 20 times faster than currently exists, Minister Wheatley spoke about the prudence with which the country’s Spectrum Management Authority has been going about its business to ensure efficient management and use of spectrum."

The ministry said Wheatley also engaged Pai in a discussion about how Jamaica could best utilise low-cost satellite technology to provide broadband internet access to the proverbial ‘last mile’ residents, i.e. those who live in underserved rural communities.

"At the end of what the parties acknowledged were vibrant discussions, Minister Wheatley and Mr. Pai expressed a willingness to collaborate in the future around areas of common interest between the United States and Jamaica."

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