Thu | Aug 6, 2020

Portland’s Mullet Hall logs on to free Wi-Fi pilot

Published:Tuesday | August 27, 2019 | 12:29 AMGareth Davis Sr/Gleaner Writer
West Portland MP Daryl Vaz (left) engages International reggae artiste Shaggy, who is also a director of ReadyTV, and popular clergyman, the Reverend Al Miller, during the launch of free Internet service to Mullet Hall in Portland last Thursday.
West Portland MP Daryl Vaz (left) engages International reggae artiste Shaggy, who is also a director of ReadyTV, and popular clergyman, the Reverend Al Miller, during the launch of free Internet service to Mullet Hall in Portland last Thursday.

Buff Bay Valley, Portland:

Mullet Hall has become the first community in Portland to benefit from free WI-Fi Internet service, through a joint initiative between the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology and the Chris Dehring-led ReadyTV.

The venture will see the West Portland community benefiting from free Internet service from August 22 to December 2019. Several adjoining communities, including Bangor Ridge, Balcarres, Spring Hill, Cascade, and Avocat, are also set to benefit from the free Internet service.

Technology Minister Fayval Williams, who delivered the main address during last Thursday’s launch at Mullet Hall, pointed out that students would now be able to make use of the resource to assist in their studies.

“We know the impact that this will have on a rural community,” she said.

“The successful installation of this satellite-delivered trial Wi-Fi zone will allow Mullet Hall and other surrounding communities to connect on a trial basis. This is a significant development that will transform the socio-economic landscape of Mullet Hall and its environs. We are connecting the unconnected. Approximately 1,000 persons who have never had fixed broadband service will be able to access the information technology superhighway,” Williams added.

“This project is in tandem with the Government’s vision of having 100 per cent Internet connectivity across Jamaica by 2030. Rural areas need to have the same level of Internet as we do in Kingston. We are working to transform Jamaica to a digital and knowledge-based society. Through the Universal Service Fund, we are providing information and access to underserved areas.”

Mullet Hall is a deep-rural, farming community in the Buff Bay Valley of Portland. The Wi-Fi service is expected to greatly enhance the learning capability of students who previously had to travel more than eight miles to Buff Bay or an additional 18 miles to Port Antonio to use a computer lab.

Member of Parliament Daryl Vaz said the initiative falls in line with his vision for his constituents.

“All of this falls under the umbrella of my constituency ICT (information and communications technology) programme to establish computer labs across West Portland,” he said.

“Already, there are computer labs in the communities of Fruitful Vale, Mount Pleasant, Buff Bay, Hope Bay, St Margaret’s Bay, and one to come in Hart Hill and, of course, Mullet Hall in short order. Additionally ,as part of my annual education back-to-school assistance programme, laptops are provided to needy students, particularly those at the tertiary level.”

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