Ecuador has unveiled its national digital strategy, with the goal of having Internet access in place for half of the country’s households by 2015, up from a current level of 29%.
Titled “The Digital Strategy 2.0 Ecuador” and presented by Telecommunications and Information Society Minister Jaime Guerrero Ruiz, the plan is based on four pillars: equipment, connectivity, training and applications, and content. The plan also addresses the institutional, legal and regulatory frameworks of the National Plan for Universal Access and Digital Readiness, the National Plan for Digital Government and the National Broadband Plan. According to the telecom ministry, the development of these pillars will strengthen the information and knowledge societies, which benefit all residents.
As of October, Ecuador — which has a population of about 14 million — had more than 240,000 fixed-Internet broadband users, up 57% from January this year.
In his speech, Guerrero said that the national government, through the telecom ministry, took on the challenge of building a digital Ecuador that allows Ecuadorians to generate and access information under an institutional and regulatory framework that ensures optimal delivery under the constitutional principles of equality and inclusion.
Others plans in Latin America
Ecuador unveils its digital plan after other Latin American countries debuted theirs. Recently, the Paraguayan government has launched its National Telecommunications Plan (PNT, acronym in Spanish) with ambitious objectives, focusing mainly on boosting broadband access. Among its main goals, the telecom regulator Comisión Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (Conatel) aims to reach 50% of homes with broadband by 2015 and deploy 1,000 kilometers (about 620 miles) of urban-fiber optic cable per year.
PNT stipulates investment of U.S. $150 million per year until 2015. In 2009, investments were less than $100 million, which is lower than the average rate of Latin America countries. Since 2006, public and private investment in Paraguay’s telecom sector has increased, with mobile accounting for the biggest portion, the government said.
In Colombia, the government last year launched a plan titled “Vive Digital,” which aims to overcome several barriers to the Internet massification. Among Vive Digital’s goals, Colombia aims to increase the number of Internet connections fourfold by 2014. In the first quarter of 2010, there were 2.2 million Internet connections (counting over fixed connections and wireless 3G/4G 1024 kbps), and the goal is 8.8 million in 2014. In addition, the Vive Digital plan focuses on connecting to the Internet 50% of micro, small and medium enterprises and 50% of households. Currently, 27% of households and only 7% of micro, small and medium enterprises have an Internet connection.
Broadband in Colombia grew 91% between August 2010 and this June, jumping from 2.2 million broadband connections to 4.1 million, an increase that the country’s information technology ministry credited to the Vive Digital plan.
In order to increase Internet broadband penetration with affordable prices, Brazilian government launched last year the Brazilian National Broadband Plan. The main goal is to provide broadband Internet access throughout the country to individuals, governmental institutions, businesses and civil societies that do not yet have access to such service.
In addition to creating jobs and building a competitive business advantage internationally, the government also aims to reduce socioeconomic inequalities by setting up the infrastructure for data communication in nonmetropolitan areas of the country.