Sun | Sep 20, 2020

St Mary communities get Internet access

Published:Monday | August 10, 2020 | 12:21 AMGareth Davis/Gleaner Writer

Two rural communities in St Mary Western received Internet access and computers through a joint initiative between the Universal Service Fund (USF) and the Ministry of Science, Energy, and Technology.

The availability of Internet service at resource centres in the communities of Three Hills and Spicey Grove means that students and other residents can now access information at their fingertips.

“It is really a great day, especially for the people who now have access to the internet, “said Daniel Dawes, chief executive officer of the USF.

He warned residents to preserve the facility as if it were their personal property.

“When I return in another year or six months, I want to see it in a good condition.

“We have spent millions of dollars to provide Internet in rural communities, which was once considered to be a service only available to the privileged. This facility is to be used by the people at all times, and they should never be denied that opportunity,” Dawes said.

The USF chief executive said that online access had become even more important amid the global coronavirus pandemic, which has triggered restrictions across the globe, curtailing movement via curfews and causing the lockdown of cities and industries.

INTERNET ACCESS TO BRIDGE THE DIVIDE

Science, Energy and Technology Minister Fayval Williams told last week’s gathering that Internet access could bridge the divide between rural communities and cultures worldwide. The minister said that the US had commissioned more than 300 so-called community access points, including eight public Wi-Fi hotspots.

“I’m heartened by the fact that we are commissioning two of these facilities in St Mary, thus bringing access to the information superhighway to the unserved or underserved areas,” said Williams.

Earlier, St Mary Western Member of Parliament Robert Montague lauded the USF and the Ministry of Technology for what he described as “forward thinking on their part in creating an atmosphere where the people of his constituency can connect with others elsewhere to do research and access information”.