UTech, Jamaica Receives Universal Service Fund $20M Grant Funding to Expand Broadband Internet Access

Press Release on UTech, Jamaica Receiving Universal Service Fund $20M Grant to Expand Broadband Internet Access
UTech, Jamaica Receives Universal Service Fund $20M Grant Funding to Expand Broadband Internet Access

UTech, Jamaica Receives Universal Service Fund $20M Grant Funding to Expand Broadband Internet Access

Prof. Colin Gyles (4th left), President (Acting) and Mrs. Elmarine Jimenez (2nd left), Information Systems Manager, University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech, Ja.) accept a symbolic cheque for twenty million ($20,000,000) dollars in Grant Funding from Mr.  Hugh Cross, (3rd left) Chief Executive Officer, Universal Service Fund (USF) to expand broadband internet access at UTech, Jamaica.  The presentation was made at the University’s Papine campus on  Monday, October 26, 2015.  Participating in the presentation from left are Dr. Haldane Johnson, Deputy President (Acting), Mr. Everold Simms, Director of Projects, USF and Mr. Glenville Boyne, Senior Director, Technology Information Management, UTech, Ja. 

Faster Internet connectivity; an increase in the number of simultaneous connections and expansion to the wireless networks, are just some of the welcomed benefits to be enjoyed by students, staff and other stakeholders at all University of Technology, Jamaica’s (UTech, Ja.) campuses in Kingston and in Montego Bay. This augmentation of the University’s internet infrastructure and expansion of the coverage of wireless networks is being enabled with support from grant funding of twenty million (Ja.$20,000,000) dollars from the Universal Service Fund (USF), an agency of the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining.

A ceremony for the official presentation of the grant funding was hosted at UTech, Jamaica’s Papine campus on Monday, October 26, 2015.

Prof. Colin Gyles, Acting President, UTech, Ja. in his welcome, expressed the University’s gratitude to the Universal Service Fund for the significant grant funding to expand the internet backbone on the University’s campuses.  Prof. Gyles noted that “the project will enable us to more than double our capacity for greater efficiency and effectiveness in online teaching, learning and various service delivery processes at all our campuses in Kingston as well as at the two campus locations in Montego Bay – Dome Street and Barnett Clinic.”  He commended Mrs. Elmarine Jimenez, Information Systems Manager and Mr. Glenville Boyne, Senior Director, Technology Information Management, UTech, Ja. for their leadership in the project development and advocacy efforts in securing the grant funding.

Simultaneous connections up from 4,000 to 12, 000

Mrs. Jimenez in her remarks provided a project overview and reiterated the benefits that will accrue from increasing broadband internet access at UTech, Jamaica. Noting that “the Internet has changed everything we do, from the way we learn, to the way we communicate, to how we work and even how we play,” she acknowledged requests that have been raised particularly by students for faster and sustained connectivity and the capacity to connect multiple devices to the UTech, Ja. network.  The IS Manager revealed that the number of simultaneous connections at the Papine campus will increase from 4,000 to 12,000.  This is expected to increase capacity in wireless “saturation hot spots” in areas where large number of students congregate such as in the dormitories and at the library.

The first phase of the project during 2015-16 will cover two main areas: augmenting campus Internet infrastructure to include routers and core switches and expanding the coverage of the campus wireless network internet access points.  UTech, Ja. will invest $31 M for the technology upgrade project to complement the $20M grant funding from the USF.  Mrs. Jimenez disclosed that further long term technology development at UTech, Ja. over the next five years will cost approximately $280 million and expressed hope that the University will be able to secure the required additional funding.

Mr. Hugh Cross, CEO, Universal Service Fund, declared his confidence in the partnership forged with UTech, Ja.  “I want to affirm our pleasure that this event has finally materialized,” he noted, adding that  “Jamaicans are winners and I don’t like to see when any institution in Jamaica remains  in the backwater… we believe that whatever we can do to help our institutions especially our government intuitions to move to the forefront, we should do that.” He noted that there was no hesitation in providing the grant funding to UTech, Ja. following  an impressive presentation by the team led by Mrs. Elmarine Jimenez  to the Fund’s Finance and Projects Committee earlier this year.  Mr. Cross said that he looks forward to the “prompt, precise and professional execution of the works,” adding that this will support the possibility for further future funding.





Michelle A. Beckford (Mrs.)
Corporate Communications Manager
Corporate Communications Unit
University of Technology, Jamaica
237 Old Hope Road,, Kingston 6

Tel: (876) 970-5299; 927-1680-8 Ext. 2299 Fax: 970-2225
Email: mbeckford@utech.edu.jm
Visit our website: www.utech.edu.jm