Acti calls for public policy to respond to slower fixed broadband growth

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Chile's government ought to implement public policy that fosters broadband adoption in rural and low-income areas, local IT and telecoms association Acti said in a statement.

Fixed broadband in the country increased 8.1% in 2010, to 1.84mn connections for an overall penetration rate of 10.8%. The cooled expansion put an end to the country's leadership in broadband penetration in Latin America, as it fell behind Uruguay at 12.3% and Argentina at 11.7%, according to Cisco's Broadband Barometer study, carried out by consultancy IDC.

"Study results support our view that broadband penetration can't be left only to the market, since it only accounts for the purchasing power of individuals and not the country's development needs," said Acti president Raúl Ciudad.

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The government should subsidize demand and promote connectivity in isolated areas, he said, to reach the goal established by President Sebastián Piñera of having 70% of all households connected by 2014, and ultimately achieving full broadband penetration by the end of his term.

"This year we will reach 3mn people with broadband. Next year, all schools and colleges will have this service," Piñera previously said in his annual address to the nation.

And while mobile broadband accesses jumped 96.5% in 2010, according to the Barometer study, these should be seen as complementary to - and not a substitute for - fixed connections, which must take priority because they offer the best relation between price and bandwidth, Ciudad added.