Mexico’s federal government has launched a telecom firm for rolling out internet services in remote rural areas where private carriers dislike to venture because of the need for heavy investment.
Named ‘Internet para Todos’ (Internet for All), the new telecom carrier will begin operations sometime early next year.
On his campaign trail, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) floated the idea of creating a telecom company, accusing the private telecom firms of being selfish and focusing on making profits.
“With all due respect, what are we going to say to the companies who have had the concessions and who haven’t connected the country? Stand aside, because the government will have its company to connect all Mexicans with the internet,” he told his supporters in a public event in El Nayar, a municipality in the western state of Nayarit, in May this year.
After taking the oath of office, the President invited social media giant Facebook to assist him in bringing internet to rural residents. Facebook and its subsidiary WhatsApp are popular in Mexico.
More than 65% Mexicans, or around 74.3 million people above the age of six, use the internet, but nearly 50% of households have no access to fixed or mobile internet, reported Reuters, citing government data.
AMLO’s predecessor tried to reform the telecom sector in a bid to bring down telecom services cost. Despite his efforts, América Móvil, the company controlled by tycoon Carlos Slim, has continued to dominate the telephone and internet market in the country, with its main rivals being Telefónica and AT&T.