USF critical to success of TIS Project

hugh cross usf
Hugh Cross, Chief Executive Officer of the Universal Service Fund says the reliability of the Internet service will be improved in the coming months.

The Universal Service Fund (USF), one of the collaborating agencies in the Tablets In Schools(TIS)  pilot Project, plays a critical role in the success of the Project by providing reliable access to the Internet for students and teachers.

Hugh Cross, Executive  Director of USF notes that while there have been challenges in provision of Internet service to the 38 schools in the project, the reliability of the service will be improved in the months ahead.

“We have given the providers a very tight schedule and our expectation is that the final solution should be in place by mid-March, 2015 and in fact physical installations at some schools have already been up
graded”, Mr. Cross told e-Learning Jamaica Today. He said that after executing acceptance testing  and final commissioning, all problems relating to Internet connectivity should be resolved by April 2015.

The USF, like e-Ljam, is an agency of the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, has two primary responsibilities regarding the TIS Pilot Project.

  • The provision of funding to e-LJam to execute the project
  • The provision of Internet services and wireless connectivity to the school campuses.

Mr. Cross explained that initially, emergency wireless and internet services were provided to the project schools because of time constraints. “We are in the process of upgrading those temporary facilities to bespoke solutions, to ensure that all teachers, students and administrators are extremely happy with the quality of the connectivity”.

Providing wireless service at school campuses under the TIS project is a complex undertaking, but Mr. Cross indicates that for the second phase of the TIS delivery of service should go more smoothly.

“For the next phase we would like to have the list of new schools to receive tablets as quickly as possible to ensure bespoke solutions are available in way ahead of time”, Mr. Cross said.

The USF is also ensuring Internet service for guest users, so that if someone visits the school with their own tablet or smartphone, they will be able to access the internet via the campus wireless service.

Under the pilot project Internet service is delivered by four service providers namely Digicel, Flow, Lime, and a local company SynCon Technologies, each using a different branded wifi technology solution.