Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Hon. Dr. Andrew Wheatley, says the Government strongly supports and is actively pursuing adoption of the principles of net neutrality, which allows for equal access to Internet content and applications.
“I know that this is a hot topic that has garnered much discussion in technology circles and our stance is clear. It is my hope that through collaborative and meaningful discussions, Jamaica and indeed all of the developing countries in the region will realise the full benefits to be derived from embracing this important principle,” he said.
Dr. Wheatley was addressing the 14th annual conference of the Organization of Caribbean Utility Regulations (OOCUR) at the Secrets Resort and Spa in Montego Bay on Thursday (October 27).
Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favouring or blocking particular products or websites.
Minister Wheatley pointed out that it is the responsibility of every country in the region to determine how to apply the attendant rules of net neutrality to maximize sector growth and innovation and ultimately realize economic benefits.
He said regulators will be required to play a major role in the adoption of net neutrality in Jamaica and the wider region.
“We are mindful of the implications for cyber security, which must be a factor in all decision-making processes. Regulators…must also be cognisant of the current threats. In this regard, the necessary strategic steps, especially from the regulatory and governmental perspectives, must be taken into account in preparation for the future. It is therefore absolutely critical that utilities manage the uncertainties while creating the right strategies,” Minister Wheatley said.
Meanwhile, he informed that over 60,000 Jamaicans have ported their numbers since the implementation of number portability in 2015.
“Additionally, Jamaica has been enjoying a teledensity rate of over 100 per cent over the past few years and according to official statistics from the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR), we had over three million mobile subscribers at the end of 2015,” he informed.
Turning to the matter of net billing, Minister Wheatley said the policy has been met with tremendous optimism and buy-in from individuals and small enterprises.
He informed that since restarting the programme in April, 154 licenses have been issued to various individuals for electricity generation.
Net billing permits JPS customers, who own renewable energy generators, to produce electricity for personal use and to sell excess energy to the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS).
Source: Jamaica Information Service