Jamaican Minister of Technology, Phillip Paulwell, has urged the country’s telecom operators to roll back the broadband service prices and give Internet access to a greater portion of the population. “Bring down a price of telecom devices as well as broadband service. Internet service in Jamaica is still too expensive,” said the Minister in a call to telecom companies. “We need to get our people access to broadband internet, and to get that access, our people need the prices to come down.”
According to a recent statistics from International Telecommunication Union (ITU), global fixed broadband prices dropped by some 82 per cent between 2008 and 2012. Out of 195 countries, Jamaica ranked 123 in mobile broadband penetration and 95 in fixed broadband penetration rates, behind many of its CARICOM neighbors.
Expensive broadband prices have hampered broadband penetration in Jamaica, Paulwell said citing ITU report. In this Caribbean country, estimates show, just eight per cent of the population is presently using high-speed Internet service. Studies suggest that a 10 per cent increase in broadband penetration can boost the country’s GDP by 1.3 percent.
“For Jamaica, this is cause for concern. We do not begrudge any other country’s success, but as the nation which once led the region in all aspects of ICT readiness, we cannot allow ourselves to be bypassed,” said the Minister, who is also currently President of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU).