Press Release: Rock Connect Partners with IFC to Support Greater Connectivity in Jamaica
Rock Connect, Jamaica’s third licensed telecommunications provider, has signed an agreement with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), private sector arm of the World Bank Group, to provide market expertise to support the buildout of Rock Connect’s network and expedite provision of broadband to Jamaica’s unserved and underserved communities. Leveraging its global expertise, IFC will provide early-stage, project preparation support to Rock Connect. IFC has supported multiple broadband connectivity providers around the world and has a deep understanding of the local market.
Rock Connect was selected to be Jamaica’s third national telecommunications provider following an international bidding process in early 2021. Rock Connect is investing approximately US$90 million (JMD13 billion) to build Jamaica’s most advanced wireless data network with an anticipated launch in late 2022.
Bruce Bowen, Executive Chairman of Rock Connect characterizes this partnership as a strong endorsement of Rock Connect’s mission to increase internet penetration in Jamaica. “I want to thank IFC for their confidence in Rock Connect and their support for our mission to provide high quality, reliable and affordable broadband service to connect Jamaicans to opportunities available online today. IFC’s global expertise in digital infrastructure, telecommunications and experience supporting new entrants in developing markets will help us deliver better solutions to Jamaicans.”
IFC Country Manager for the Caribbean, Judith Green, said that, “IFC is extremely proud to be partnering with Rock Connect, bringing our global experience in broadband to Jamaica. IFC is well positioned to support the Caribbean in expanding digital connectivity and innovative technologies, which can support inclusive growth, economic stability and improved quality of life.”
Jamaica lags the English-speaking Caribbean in terms of broadband access and internet penetration. This connectivity gap has had a significant impact on children’s education, access to digital financial services, digital health services and the ability of Jamaicans to ‘work from home’ over the past two years. A recently released study by a major U.S.-based development institution noted that this connectivity gap is having a significant negative impact on Jamaica’s economic growth.
Photo courtesy of Simon Berry.