A total of 371 public institutions have been connected to the broadband communications network, being rolled out across the island by the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy, and Mining (MSTEM).
The network is being implemented through the Universal Service Fund (USF).
The institutions include : 206 of 207 targetted educational institutions; 67 of 77 post offices; 57 of 60 hospitals and health centres; and all 14 parish libraries.
State Minister for Science, Technology, Energy, and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson made the disclosure during his 2014/15 Sectoral Debate presentation in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, June 11, under the theme: ‘Information and Communication Technologies as Enablers for Growth and Development’.
In relation to the provision of broadband access to public health institutions, Mr. Robinson said this will significantly improve the delivery of medical care to patients.
He cited the electronic transfer of x-ray imagery, which he noted were hand- delivered, in earlier years.
The State Minister pointed out that there is a “whole set of applications” that the Health Ministry has either embarked on or is scheduled to undertake. These, he indicated, include the Government of Jamaica (GoJ) Health Card which has already been rolled out, as well as a Laboratory Information System.
“But all of these have to be supported by a backbone; and the islandwide broadband network is the backbone. This will provide the Ministry of Health with the capacity to deliver and improve health care services across the country,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Mr. Robinson disclosed that the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) is also to be connected to the broadband network.
The objective of this undertaking, he explained, is to improve the general capability of the JCF’s operations, delivered through its stations, by facilitating efficient communication and transfer of critical information in real time, to enhance crime fighting.
He said the JCF has already implemented an island wide email communication system that will ensure its members have high speed and timely Internet access.
“It will also support the Automated Palm and Finger Printing System (APFPS), and ensure that data which is captured can be transmitted from rural locations to a central database in Kingston,” the State Minister said.
Mr. Robinson further stated that “the investment in our infrastructure is meant to deliver public services to Jamaicans in a more effective and efficient manner.”
By Douglas McIntosh