BNDES could help small ISPs participate in national broadband plan

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Brazilian development bank BNDES may finance small internet service providers looking to participate in the government's national broadband plan, PNBL, the communications ministry (Minicom) said in a statement.

The PNBL is intended to expand a backbone and related broadband services across Brazil, while also reducing average monthly service costs for consumers. Communications minister Paulo Bernardo met with provider association representatives to begin a promotion tour concerning the program.

Small providers, the ministry said, face significant difficulties obtaining credit without collateral. Other challenges include high taxes and wholesale connection costs. State telecom company Telebras, which is administering the plan's implementation, set the fee for wholesale links of up to 1 Mbps at 230 reais (US$137).

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"The government doesn't intend to act philanthropically with internet providers," Bernardo said. "We don't want to give special treatment to any segment, but to understand the problems and overcome obstacles, because the goal is to extend the program to as many users as possible in Brazil, including small towns."

Minicom has forecasted implementation of the PNBL to start in April.