Conatel: Internet market liberalization would take 2-3 months

Friday, October 3, 2008

The liberalization of Paraguay's internet market would take two or three months, local paper ABC Color reported telecoms watchdog Conatel interim president Luis Ramírez Barreto as saying.

Paraguay's government is in process of defining the future of the internet market in the country, having meetings with several players including Conatel, state owned telecoms operator Copaco, the country's internet users association, and private internet providers.

Copaco currently has the monopoly over the wholesale internet market in the country. Due to this monopoly, Paraguay's broadband penetration is among the lowest in Latin America.

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According to Ramírez, Conatel is in favor of the liberalization of the internet market. Overall internet penetration in Paraguay is 4.2%, while the penetration of broadband services is just 0.3%, according to recent data from Conatel.

However, Copaco has recently suggested that it should maintain a monopoly over VoIP services in the country since revenues from international long distance telephony account for approximately 25% of its total revenues.

Telecoms consultancy firm Signals VP Juan Gnius said that the liberalization of the market would be very positive for the country and will result in a cut in internet tariffs.

The low penetration in ADSL technology will boost other technologies such as WiMax, he told BNamericas.

The mobile broadband services offered by operators through 3G technology could have a great development in the country, Gnius added.