Bunting suggests use of 5G to deliver internet to communities

July 29, 2020

Opposition spokesman on education, Peter Bunting, yesterday called for the establishment of a Rural Electrification Programme-type mechanism aimed at delivering high-speed internet access across the island.

The Central Manchester Member of Parliament, speaking in the Sectoral debate in the House of Representatives, recommended that the Government uses money from the Universal Service Fund to fund the expansion of fibre optic cables across the island as well as consider the use of 5G technology.

The Rural Electrification Programme was established in the 1970s to provide the entire island with access to electricity and stimulate economic and social activity in rural Jamaica.

The Government yesterday said that 100,000 tablets and laptops are being purchased for students islandwide.

Remote learning

Bunting, while commending the move to buy the laptops, said that "Even more important than the instruments is having wide accessibility and having it at affordable prices. That's how we can really make use of remote learning and all the opportunities that technology in the classroom offers."

The opposition lawmaker noted that a lot of communities do not have access to high-speed internet and said that the Government should institute a programme to ensure that no child is left behind as the country enters a phase that would see online teaching and learning being part of its reality.

In May, Education Minister Karl Samuda said that 31,000 children were unable to connect and participate in online lessons due to a lack of internet coverage.

Experts said that 5G technology makes mobile and Internet communications much faster. However, conspiracy theorists say that the radiation from these towers can weaken people's immune system, making them prone to illness.

These persons have linked the high speed technology to COVID-19, even though the World Health Organization said that after much research, "no adverse health effect has been causally linked with exposure to wireless technologies".

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