Nearshore Americas

Jamaica’s ICT Infrastructure, Transformed

The COVID-19 pandemic reshaped how industry leaders understand business continuity policies. Information and communications technologies (ICT) became even more relevant for daily work activities. In many cases, these technologies were the only way to conduct business.

Most companies that were not already implementing robust digital communication strategies found themselves in a disadvantaged competitive position that in most circumstances resulted in the loss of market share.

Jamaica’s workforce was particularly impacted by social distancing measures, as was the case in most countries mainly relying on tourism revenue. Other industries in the country, such as the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector, conducted an unprecedented relocation of workers in order to remain operational.

This massive work-from-home (WFH) rearrangement placed the island’s ICT infrastructure under a unique stress test. Despite this challenge, the BPO sector was capable of maintaining activities, thanks in part to the normalization of remote work models

In a post-pandemic scenario and amid growing employer’s appetite for remote and hybrid work arrangements, how is Jamaica adapting its infrastructure to accommodate this trend?

COVID-19 as an Accelerator

The pandemic forced local providers like FLOW to update their products in order to better serve its customers. FLOW said that, after the pandemic hit, it had to accommodate almost a 50% increase in demand.

All kinds of companies had the sudden need to relocate workers, a problem in a country where home internet is not evenly accessible.

Providers realized that the digital transformation strategies of many companies in the private sector were accelerated by measures imposed to contain the pandemic. That required a boost in ICT capabilities to keep up with the demand.

Those efforts are now allowing Jamaica in post-pandemic conditions to elevate its competitiveness.
Jamaica’s ICT infrastructure has witnessed remarkable advancements in recent years, establishing a robust foundation for businesses seeking a tech-forward environment. The nation has made substantial investments in expanding its high-speed internet connectivity, with a focus on fiber-optic networks that now extend throughout multiple urban centers.

Readiness Beyond Kingston and MoBay

Despite these efforts, Jamaica still faces important challenges. Cities like Kingston and Montego Bay offer great resources for remote work, but other areas of the country struggle to sustain the same level of readiness.

A city like Montego Bay, which has attracted a considerable number of BPO companies that operate almost 50 call centers from the city, has many data centers as well as reliable internet access and phone service.

Kingston has similar conditions, with a high-capacity internet infrastructure. However, in other areas of the country, particularly in rural communities, lower levels of connectivity persist.

Universal Service Fund

The government of Jamaica has been working on expanding internet infrastructure. In this context, Jamaica’s Universal Service Fund (USF) continues to assist in the development of the island’s ICT networks.

Established in 2005, the program has channeled millions of dollars into infrastructure capabilities. The fund has been responsible for projects to expand bandwidth access, build the wireless service for the University of the West Indies, among others. Under this program, the island has seen the expansion of public Wi-Fi under the Connect Jamaica brand. The goal is to provide universal access to internet services.

These efforts are laying the groundwork for future remote work capabilities as more consumers will have easy access from their homes. This will prevent companies from having to make additional investments to create proper basic conditions for their workers when applying work from home strategies.

Transforming the Public Sector

Jamaica is making significant progress updating its government services, taking steps to develop e-government platforms, with a focus on improving digital access to government information and services.

The island’s authorities intend to move to a cloud-based system and are advancing the so-called public sector transformation program. This plan seeks to integrate systems across the public sector. It also aims  to upgrade the government of Jamaica’s data centers to make them more resilient to disruptions such as natural disasters.  

Jamaica’s government also recently implemented the national public key infrastructure project, which intends to facilitate the legal and business infrastructure necessary to implement secure electronic commerce.

WFH Appetite

Even as many companies worldwide contemplate the return to traditional office setups, it’s becoming increasingly clear that remote work is not just a temporary response to extraordinary circumstances. Instead, it is evolving into a central and enduring business strategy for the long term. The ongoing improvements in remote-working technology, coupled with the recognition of its numerous benefits, are driving this transformation.

One key factor propelling the rise of remote work is the economic advantage it offers. Companies are discovering that by allowing employees to work remotely, they can significantly reduce operational costs associated with maintaining physical office spaces. This cost savings is not only seen in terms of reduced office rental expenses but also extends to utilities, maintenance, and other overheads.

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Particularly noteworthy is Jamaica’s susceptibility to natural disasters, notably hurricanes. In a country that annually faces the looming threat of these destructive weather events, remote work becomes more than just a convenience; it becomes a vital business continuity tool.

Kingsley Morgan

Kingsley Morgan is a results-oriented marketing professional renowned for his strategic prowess in driving brand growth and revenue generation. With a wealth of expertise in crafting and executing dynamic marketing strategies, digital campaigns, and public relations endeavours, Kingsley is a driving force behind heightened brand awareness, amplified engagement, and increased profitability.

Kingsley's mastery extends to the realms of social media strategy, event planning, content orchestration, media relations and logistical finesse. His proficiency in B2B marketing is underscored by a stellar track record of accomplishments in lead generation and conversion, attesting to his profound impact on business success.

Kingsley stands out for his adeptness in leveraging Google Analytics and search engine optimization, employing a data-driven approach that underpins sound decision-making. Collaborative by nature, he thrives in cross-functional environments, consistently propelling complex projects forward and surpassing established business objectives.

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