1,500 poor households to get technology boost | News

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Flow Jamaica will start providing bundled package Internet, laptops and training at a subsidised rate to selected poor households as a means of spurring economic and social development. 

The pilot will initially supply 1,500 households across Jamaica.

The data gathered from the pilot will inform Flow on steps to widen the project.

Households will pay $800 a month for the service worth at least five times more at market rates.  

“The pilot will be rolling out in days,” stated Stephen Price, vice president and general manager at Flow Jamaica, at the launch on Wednesday at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston.  

The households will receive devices, particularly a HP laptop, Internet connectivity and digital skills training.

Educational entities OneonOne Limited, an online platform, and the Caribbean School of Data, with its implementing partner Mona School of Business, will provide the training. 

“From a cost perspective we are sharing the partnership in terms of education fees and digital literacy fees,” said Price in the question-and-answer session. 

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government issued some 40,000 laptops to students as a means of allowing them to conduct classes remotely.

It was aimed at stemming the spread of the virus.  

The Flow project, called Jump, aims to hone in on vulnerable households that are likely to continue to fall behind in connectivity and education.

Price said that overtime he expects it to increase graduation rates, jobs, financial inclusion and overall economic growth. 

“Jump is our new programme to bridge the digital divide,” he said and later explained about measuring the uptake and usage of the devices.

“We will be measuring success at every stage. So, we have a mark for three-months, six-months and so on, just to make sure we are collecting the data as we go,” said Price. 

The launch was endorsed by Karl Samuda, Minister of Labour and Social Security, and Daryl Vaz, Minister of Science, Energy and Technology.

The 1,500 households will be chosen from a list under the Government’s Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) programme.  

Steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com

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