Increased investment in infrastructure and a growing number of public and private partnerships in telecom sector has made broadband service affordable for a large number of Latin Americans. Six of the top ten countries in this year’s Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) Affordability Index are from Latin America.
Thanks largely to affordable telecom service from state-owned carriers, fixed broadband prices have decreased by 30% in the majority of countries in the region since 2010.
Costa Rica’s actions to expand broadband access to rural and poor populations and its strong push to develop infrastructure has earned the country the number one spot in the ranking. Government programs designed to promote broadband access among low-income households have also driven down the Internet service prices in Brazil and Uruguay.
Other countries, such as Colombia and Peru, are also investing huge sums of money in broadband infrastructure, says the report released at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
A4AI, founded by Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee and sponsored by the likes of Google and USAID, says it examined 1,391 fixed broadband service plans offered by 48 operators and 2,132 mobile broadband plans offered by 28 operators in 20 countries throughout Latin America.
“Argentina is the country where the entry plan is the most expensive, while Costa Rica has the most affordable plan,” the report stated.
Large-scale investment in telecom infrastructure is also a primary factor in falling broadband prices, according to Developing Telecom, which said in a statement that Brazil alone has set aside US$3.2 billion in 2014 (0.13% of its GDP) to roll out fibre optic networks and bolster training and R&D facilities for the telecom sector.
Argentina is also going to invest $1.8 billion (0.4% of its GDP) in telecom infrastructure, while Colombia is spending $2.25 billion to build a fiber backbone in rural areas.