GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands – June 23, 2020 —Minister of Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure, Hon. Joey Hew announced today, (Tuesday, June 23) that ten community sites across the Cayman Islands will be made available for residents to enjoy free, public access to wireless internet. The opening of the community Wi-Fi hotspots coincides with the easing of three-month shelter-in-place restrictions, which were officially lifted on Sunday, June 21.
The technology infrastructure and equipment for the public Wi-Fi hotspots were donated by global networking and technology leader Cisco, to help provide relief to the social impact caused by COVID-19 and help bridge the gaps of the digital divide.
The Cayman Islands Utility Regulation and Competition Office (OfReg) was charged with coordinating the overall project. Installation of all Information Technology infrastructure as well as technology deployment was led and managed by local IT solutions provider Unified Technologies, while the necessary bandwidth for the hotspots was provided by regional telecommunications carrier Flow C&W. Both Unified Technologies and Flow C&W have deep and longstanding roots in the Cayman Islands and are also donating their time and resources to this initiative.
Minister Hew expressed his gratitude to all stakeholders for working together to get all the necessary infrastructure in place and the project off the ground within a short timeframe. “This is a fantastic project that will serve a great purpose for many people – students, families and even young entrepreneurs. We recognise that some people may not have access to Internet so I feel sure that these hotspots will be welcomed across our Islands, especially at this time.”
He continued, “I have to commend OfReg for coordinating the project, the private sector organisations for providing the infrastructure, connectivity, technical labour and set-up, and a number of entities including District Administration, Ministry of Education, University College of Cayman Islands, Seafarers Association and others for providing the locations”.
“Having internet access is more critical than ever. Now is the time for business and government leaders to step up and work together to close the digital divide so we can create a digital and inclusive future where no one is left behind,” said Shari Slate, Vice President, Chief Inclusion and Collaboration Officer for Cisco. “We are proud to collaborate with Minister Hew and the OfReg, and to offer our technology and expertise so that residents of the Cayman Islands who need help coping with this new normal can access resources online and connect with family without worry”.
She added, “Cisco is grateful for the dedication and local leadership demonstrated by Unified Technologies. Alongside Flow C&W and OfReg, the deep collaboration undertaken by our teams is truly what brought this initiative to life.”
Accessible to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the ten community Wi-Fi hotspot locations are primarily located at government operated civic centres and facilities across Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman:
- District Administration Building
- George Town Public Library
- Government House
- James M. Bodden Sr. Civic Centre
- North Side Community
- Seafarer’s Association Meeting Hall
- South Sound Community Centre
- University College of Cayman Islands
- West Bay Public Library
- William Allen McLaughlin Civic Centre