Bolivia has activated its first and the only submarine optical fiber network, gaining direct access to the World Wide Web and reducing its reliance on foreign wholesale telecom vendors.
The 2,200-km-long cable network runs through major urban landscapes across the country, including Tacna, Tarata, Mazocruz, Huaytire, Moquegua, and Mollenda.
Until now, Bolivian carriers borrowed telecom capacity from wholesale vendors in neighboring Chile and Peru. Therefore, analysts say the cost of telecom services in the country may decrease dramatically in the months to come.
“Bolivia enters the age of fast and cheap internet,” declared the country’s Interim President Jeanine Áñez following the inauguration.
The government is repeatedly saying that internet speed will increase dramatically in the coming months. Internet download speed averages at 19.4Mbps in Bolivia, according to Ookla’s Speedtest Global Index.
The cable network built at a cost of US$66 million will be operated by the country’s state-run telecom firm Entel. The project is in fact the brainchild of former president Evo Morales, who drafted a legislative bill to declare internet service a “human right.”
Mobile telephony and internet costs were excessively expensive in the country, according to Morales. “In 2007, a single Mbps cost an average 672 bolivianos,” he tweeted recently.
“With the nationalization, we lowered the cost to 72 bolivianos (US$10) in 2017 and to 6.35 in 2019. The new cable network will reduce the cost further to 4.45,” he said.