Television stations: Privately owned Radio Jamaica Limited and its subsidiaries operate multiple TV stations as well as subscription cable services; there are 2 other privately owned television stations (2007).
Main lines: 265,000 lines in use, 123rd in the world (2011).
Mobile cellular: 2.7 million, 135th in the world (2012).
Telephone system: Fully automatic domestic telephone network; the 1999 agreement to open the market for telecommunications services resulted in rapid growth in mobile-cellular telephone usage while the number of fixed-lines in use declined (2011).
Teledensity: 110 per 100 persons (combined) (2011).
The country’s three mobile operators – Cable and Wireless (marketed as LIME – Landline, Internet, Mobile and Entertainment), Digicel, and Oceanic Digital (operating as MiPhone and now known as Claro since late 2008) – have spent millions in network upgrade and expansion. Both Digicel and Oceanic Digital were granted licences in 2001 to operate mobile services in the newly liberalised telecom market that had once been the sole domain of the incumbent Cable and Wireless monopoly. Digicel opted for the more widely used GSM wireless system, while Oceanic opted for the CDMA standard. Cable and Wireless, which had begun with TDMA standard, subsequently upgraded to GSM, and currently utilises both standards on its network.
With wireless usage increasing, landlines supplied by Cable and Wireless have declined from just over half a million to roughly about three hundred thousand as of 2006. In a bid to grab more market share, Cable and Wireless recently[when?] launched a new land line service called HomeFone Prepaid that would allow customers to pay for minutes they use rather than pay a set monthly fee for service, much like prepaid wireless service.
Two more licenses were auctioned by the Jamaican government to provide mobile services on the island, including one that was previously owned by AT&T Wireless but never utilized, and one new license.
A new entrant to the Jamaican communications market, Flow Jamaica, laid a new submarine cable connecting Jamaica to the United States. This new cable increases the total number of submarine cables connecting Jamaica to the rest of the world to four.
There are no government restrictions on access to the Internet or credible reports that the government monitors e-mail or Internet chat rooms without judicial oversight.
The law provides for freedom of speech and press, and the government generally respects these rights in practice. An independent press, generally effective judicial protection, and a functioning democratic political system combine to ensure freedom of speech and press. The independent media are active and express a wide variety of views without restriction. Broadcast media were largely state owned, but open to pluralistic points of view. Although the constitution prohibits arbitrary interference with privacy, family, home, or correspondence, in practice the police conduct searches without warrants.
A law decriminalizing defamation was passed by the Jamaican House of Representatives in November 2013 after being approved unanimously by the Senate the previous July. It took six years to amend the libel and slander laws, which – although little used – made media offences punishable by imprisonment.