Brazil's Rousseff doubles down on broadband

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

President Dilma Rousseff has promised to double Brazil's broadband connections if reelected.

At a campaign event in São Paulo on Monday, Rousseff vowed to increase average Internet speed to 25Mbps by 2018 through a public-private effort to take fiber broadband to 90% of households, with the remaining 10% served by satellite, 3G or 4G technologies.

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Rousseff said the government would invest 40bn reais (US$16bn) in the initiative. Funds would come from the federal budget, tax credits and loans at subsidized interest rates. One year ago, telecom regulator Anatel estimated that 170bn reais would be needed to take expand broadband to virtually the whole country in the next decade.

Internet speeds currently range from 2.3Mbps to 5.5Mbps in Brazil, Rousseff said. A recent study from Akamai put average broadband speed in the country at 2.9Mbps in Q2 – among the lowest in the region.

Rousseff said that the Broadband for All program, previously known as PNBL 2.0, would increase the number of broadband connections to 300mn from 150mn in four years. She also defended the movement to declare broadband a public interest service.