Peru , Brazil and Costa Rica
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Small operators, ISPs responsible for over 70% of LatAm fiber rollouts

Bnamericas Published: Tuesday, October 26, 2021
Small operators, ISPs responsible for over 70% of LatAm fiber rollouts

Small telecom operators, cooperatives and internet service providers (ISPs) are responsible for some 71.8% of the entire fiber-to-the home (FTTH) infrastructure deployed in Latin America to date.

The estimates are from Rafael Muente Schwarz, head of Peruvian telecom regulator Osiptel, shared in a panel at the Fiber Connect LATAM 2021 event promoted by the Fiber Broadband Association (FBA). The figures are based on FBA data.

“Operators that have deployed fiber optics to the home are not only the traditional ones; entrants have also played an essential role. In our region, 71.8% of fiber optic network deployments have been made by alternative operators,” said Muente Schwarz.

Countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Peru have seen a rise in the number of independent players exploiting FTTH services in recent years.

In the panel, Muente Schwarz and officials from the Brazilian and Costa Rican telecommunications regulators, Anatel and Sutel, respectively, as well as telecom specialist and CEO of digital infrastructure and telecom consultancy SMC+, Sebastián Cabello, stressed the need for infrastructure sharing for efficient use of networks and for quicker broadband deployments.

Peru has over 70,000km of fiber optic installed nationwide and different models for fiber deployment, according to Osiptel, including public-private partnerships and a neutral, wholesale network, the RDNFO national fiber backbone.

"There are 21 regional projects connected to the backbone with fiber optic technology that allow us to deliver better quality broadband," Muente Schwarz said. 

However, RDNFO has faced problems in terms of underuse and the rates charged and now risks being re-tendered to a new concessionaire to operate it.

In Brazil, the so-called competitive operators and ISPs were responsible for over 62.9% of 21.2mn fiber broadband accesses as of end-July. Meanwhile, national players such as Telefônica Brasil, Oi and Claro were responsible for the remainder, according to Anatel data.

Brazil has over 15,000 ISPs formally registered with the regulator.

In Costa Rica, however, state-run telco kolbi (ICE) has the largest fiber optic network in the country and accounts for 78.2% of all fiber accesses, according to Sutel's latest figures.

Recently, kolbi said that its fiber network now connects more than 233,000 homes, businesses and companies in 853 locations across the country.

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