Colombia's Communications Ministry expects to hold auctions for the Compartel 2001 rural telephony program at year-end, an advisor to the Compartel program told BNamericas.com.
The Ministry had previously said it would auction project contracts mid-year.
Compartel 2001 provides for the installation and operation of 4,000-5,000 rural telephones over a 10-year period in all departments, as well as some 600 Internet, long distance and fax centers in the town halls of communities with less than 2,000 inhabitants. The Ministry plans to award the contract to the company that meets technical requirements and requests the lowest subsidy from a US$64mn rural telephony fund.
In related news, the Ministry is preparing the auction of a contract to provide radio telephony for indigenous communities, mainly in the Amazonas department, plus a contract to design and monitor Internet access programs for the use of Internet centers that Compartel Phase I winner Gilat is setting up in 670 communities.