Contents

Introduction

Recently sworn-in President Mario Abdo Benitez has urged his fellow Paraguayans "to look toward the future," but in one of South America's poorest nations, that may seem harder than it seems, as bottlenecks, regulation and outdated infrastructure mean it is still mired in the past, as is the case of its ICT sector.

According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Paraguay ranks 113rd out of 176 nations in the global ICT development index, ahead of only Guyana in South America. And even worse, the country slipped two places from the previous ranking in 2016.

With a population of 7.1mn people, Paraguay has a rate of 3.35 fixed line broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants and is at 41.6 in mobile broadband. The ITU report shows that just over a third of Paraguayan households have a computer and just 26% of them have internet access.

Meanwhile, in Uruguay, which has half Paraguay's population, 70% of households have a PC and 61.8% of them are connected to the internet.

The fact that Paraguay is landlocked means it depends on neighbors and Mercosur bloc partners Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay for interconnection with international submarine cable networks.

The consequence of this is more expensive domestic broadband services, with impacts on the modernization of the country's ICT segment and lower penetration of services.

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