Gov't looking at ways to improve telecommunications during disasters

Information Minister Dr. Dana Morris Dixon
By Nakinskie Robinson 
Talks are underway between the government and telecommunications providers that could guarantee uninterrupted coverage during emergencies such as hurricanes.
While lauding the administration's preparedness and relief response to Hurricane Beryl, Information Minister Dr. Dana Morris Dixon said the government and its partners must exploit existing technology to improve communication channels during disaster events.
A week after the powerful hurricane hit Jamaica, some sections of the island remain without cell service, with many residents unable to make contact with relatives.
Minister Morris Dixon, who was speaking at a post cabinet press briefing on Wednesday morning, said there must be a contingency plan in place for future, similar events. 
"We are speaking, as you know, to Digicel and Flow on that area. A lot them were dependent on JPS for electricity. We have to look at how we have other electricity generation facilities that are in place, and so that's one area. We have to look at other areas of communication, how we build redundancy, so if the mobile network is down, what else can we do." 
To this end, Dr. Morris Dixon said the country already has "offers of assistance from overseas for mobile-type units that could be deployed in an area that loses connectivity".
"So there are some key lessens that we've learnt, and especially just making the system more robust, because as you saw, Hurricane Beryl was offshore and look on all the damage. If one does come onshore, you can imagine what that would be like, and so we are thinking in that kind of mindset," said the minister. 

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