4 October 2023

Digital Technology Guru

Digital Technology Guru Reviews

The Universal Service Fund Drives Digital Inclusivity in Jamaica

2 min read
The Universal Service Fund Drives Digital Inclusivity in Jamaica

The Universal Service Fund (USF) in Jamaica is working towards increasing digital inclusivity throughout the country. As the lead entity in implementing various projects to strengthen Jamaica’s digital infrastructure, the USF aims to build a digital society in line with the government’s mandate. Two flagship programs of the USF that provide free Wi-Fi access to the public are the Community Access Points (CAPs) and the Community Wi-Fi Programme.

Under the CAPs initiative, computer labs are established in communities in collaboration with local organizations. The Community Wi-Fi Programme seeks to increase internet access providing free Wi-Fi across 63 constituencies. To date, 189 hotspots have been established, with the USF planning to expand this number with an addition of 63 hotspots, providing one per constituency.

The USF is executing several projects simultaneously to fast-track the development of the national ICT infrastructure. These include initiatives such as USF Connect Jamaica, which aims to provide free Wi-Fi in high-traffic areas such as parks and town centres, and the Tablets in Schools program, which distributes devices to students at various educational levels.

Additionally, the USF’s Islandwide Broadband Network initiative ensures connectivity to important institutions such as schools, hospitals, libraries, police stations, and health centers. The National Broadband Initiative collaborates with other organizations to fund national projects, and the Technology Advancement Programme (TAP) educates young talents in the ICT space through training and work experience opportunities.

The impact of these initiatives is evident in the testimonial of Tatiyana, a participant of the TAP program. She attests to the program’s value in changing the trajectory of her life, as it provided her with practical learning, certification, and job opportunities. The current TAP III program focuses on training 300 participants in coding, with enrollment and active pursuit of the program taking place at various sites across the country.

With its comprehensive approach to digital inclusivity, the USF is making significant strides in bridging the digital divide and creating a more connected and knowledgeable society in Jamaica.

– The Universal Service Fund (USF)
– JIS News