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Costa Rica Resumes Rolling Out Broadband in Rural Areas

Costa Rican government has resumed building telecom networks in remote rural areas, which private carriers often avoid due to high cost and low demand.

The state-owned utility firm, Grupo Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad ( ICE), has stated that it had been awarded 20 contracts worth US$47 million to roll out both fixed and mobile networks in 14 indigenous territories, in rural areas.

The company, whose subsidiary Kölbi is a significant operator with more than 50% of market share, says it will complete the project over the next 14 months.

The contracts are part of the Comunidades Conectadas program designed to provide free internet connectivity to schools and health centers in remote parts of the country.

Costa Rica has more than 4 million active internet users, with Kölbi, Claro, and Tigo being the major service providers.

The Central American country is still far away from expanding high-speed 4G networks to smaller towns and villages. Reports say 60% of the population has no access to 4g networks.

These days, the country’s data network is buckling under the pressure of high traffic, as people increasingly browse the web to while away their time in quarantine.

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With the country under lockdown, many employees in both government and private sectors are working home.

Narayan Ammachchi

News Editor for Nearshore Americas, Narayan Ammachchi is a career journalist with a decade of experience in politics and international business. He works out of his base in the Indian Silicon City of Bangalore.

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