Our Real ICT Future: Beyond Broadband and Mobile Access in Jamaica

Information and Communication Technologies will play an increasingly important role in Jamaica’s human and material development. This will require a range of policy interventions beyond creating infrastructure and providing new technology applications.

Technologies (ICTs) represent possibilities for a vibrant economic sector, and for achieving national and regional goals. The recent Caribbean ICT Policy Conference (May, 2011) gave an opportunity to reflect on our ICT performance and to raise some important questions. MMThe conference was convened after the release of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Information Technology Report 2010-2011which showed that Jamaica had moved downwards froma ranking of 45 in 2006/07 to 73 in 2010/2011.

Indicators and Broadband Survey conducted by MSB’s TPM Programme produced results for Jamaica that substantiate the WEF findings. Why has Jamaica regressed while countries with similar circumstances continue to progress in terms of ICT development? According to the survey, 76% of Jamaican households do not have access to a computer at home, while 84% do not have access to the internet at home. (See Figure 1) Of those individuals who do have access, sending/receiving emails and social networking were the most popular uses. Significantly fewer persons used the internet to conduct business with Government and the private sector in the form of internet banking. (See Figure 2)

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