Argentina’s north-eastern Santa Fe province is preparing to build a 4,400-km long fiber-optic network at a cost of US$120 million.
The provincial government will set aside $25 million for the project, with the regional development bank, CAF, agreeing to lend the remaining $100 million.
The fiber network will increase internet speed, in addition to supporting numerous digital skill development initiatives in the province, according to local media reports.
The cables will bring broadband access to hundreds of schools and colleges. More than 72 % of schools in the province have no access to broadband services, reported BNAmericas citing officials at the Santa Fe government.
The project, estimated to be completed over the next four years, will boost internet infrastructure in the entire country. Optical fiber accounts for less than 13% of broadband connections in Argentina, largely due to a lack of interest among private telcos in rolling out the cables.
The carriers blame the regulator, especially its power to control telecom prices. In early 2020, Argentina declared telecommunications a public and essential service, equipping the telecom regulator with the power to intervene whenever it found the telecom services expensive and unaffordable.