Olympic Way gets free Wi-Fi
Prime Minister, Andrew Holness (third right), and Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Daryl Vaz (fourth left), indicate that they have connected their mobile devices to the new $20-million free public Wi-Fi system that has been established in Olympic Way in the St Andrew West Central constituency. Also pictured (from left), are Director, Corporate Government Relations, Joy Clarke; Senior Superintendent of Police, St, Andrew South Division, Kirk Ricketts; Board Chairman of the Seaward Primary and Junior High School, Bruce Bicknell; CEO of USF, Daniel Dawes; and Principal of the Seaward Primary and Junior High School, Arlene Thomas. (Photo contributed)

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Olympic Way residents can now log on to the Internet free of cost.

This follows the official commissioning of another Universal Service Fund (USF) public Wi-Fi system by Prime Minister, Andrew Holness on Thursday, May 26 in the St Andrew community.

The high-speed broadband system, which was provided at a cost of $20 million and installed in collaboration with telecommunications company Digicel, was unveiled at the Seaward Primary and Junior High School, St Andrew.

Separate Wi-Fi infrastructure was provided for the school under the initiative and was also officially launched during the event.

Holness, who is also Member of Parliament for the constituency, noted that the provision of free public Wi-Fi is very important in the Government’s strategy of creating a digital society.

He pointed out that one of the ways this is being facilitated is through the connection of key public infrastructure such as schools, courthouses, hospitals and police stations, to broadband high-speed Internet.

“What that means is that we are putting our key public infrastructure on the information highway, but it also means that we are giving the general public access to the Internet via free Wi-Fi,” Holness said.

The prime minister noted that through the National Works Agency (NWA), the Government has been investing in building out its broadband capabilities in partnership with service providers who already have broadband cable in the ground or on poles.

He said these capabilities are being strengthened, so that transitioning to a digital society is done in an equitable way where the “entire” society can move into this era.

“The Government has two strategic interventions; one is to get devices into the hands of those who can’t afford them… and then secondly is to get the schools connected so that you can use the smart devices to get Internet access in the public domain, particularly in public areas, so that if you need to do transactions – for example you need to check your bank balance or register for the COVID Allocation of Resources for Employees Programme – you can do them online because you don’t have to worry about connectivity,” he said.

Meanwhile, the prime minister reminded residents that while the public Wi-Fi is free to access, it is not without cost to government, which also has to replace any equipment that is damaged. He stressed that the onus is on community members to care for the equipment.

“This equipment is very expensive, so as we make this publicly available I make an appeal to the citizens of the area to protect the equipment and be conscious about its value to you and your children,” he said.

This is the fourth free public Wi-Fi system to be launched in St Andrew West Central. The others are in the divisions of Cockburn Gardens, Tower Hill and Molynes.

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