By Narayan Ammachchi
The number of broadband connections in Colombia exceeded 4.7 million in 2012, with a majority of which being fixed line connections, according to a recent study conducted by Cisco.
The U.S. technology giant predicts that broadband connections (both wireline and wireless) may reach 8.5 million over the next three years.
Moreover, broadband quality is improving considerably as service providers compete vigorously to sign up more customers. The report concludes that over half of the fixed Internet connections are faster than 2 megabytes, enough for users to join videoconferences, access high-definition content and share social networks.
In total, the number of fixed connections of 2 Mbps or higher was 1.66 million, very close to the 1.8 million that still connect via lower speeds.
“This is a very good piece of news for the country, as it indicates that we are advancing not only in coverage but also in the broadband quality. Having higher speeds allows us to access better services like high-definition content or videoconferences. In addition, it gives us the possibility to make advancements like video security, telemedicine or tele-education even more popular,” stated Simbad Ceballos, general manager, Cisco Colombia.
In the meantime, 3G mobile connections grew 3.7 percent, exceeding the 1.2 million of June 2012. Even though Colombia was one of the first in Latin America with 4G service, it was not registered at the time the study was made.
The Colombian government is making an effort to increase the number of geographical points connected to the network through fiber optic, which allows more users to be connected. For some social strata, the government is also subsidizing part of the cost of connections.
“We are doing very well in meeting the goals of the Plan Vive Digital. When we started this administration we had 2.2 million Internet connections. This year we hope to grow a million connections more, thanks to subsidies provided by the government to connect the country,” said Diego Molano Vega, Colombia Minister of ICT.
Some vendors finance the sale of equipment like PCs, while the government is giving computers and connectivity to rural schools and other public places.
“Even if more than 36 mobile connections per 100 fixed ones exist in Colombia, the network modernization and the arrival of 4G open the door to a major increase in the offer of services, which will contribute to the growth not only of connections but also of the quality of services,” Cisco said.
The competition in prices and quality of services will increase along with national and international coverage, which will bring significant benefits to a larger population.