Regulator calls for government help to plug the communications gap

20 Mar 2006

The chairman of the Dominican Republic’s telecoms regulator Indotel, José Rafael Vargas, has said the government urgently needs to begin subsidising mobile and fixed line operators in order to improve the country’s low telecoms penetration and close the communications gap between rich and poor, according to BNamericas quoting local daily Hoy Digital. Vargas said that whilst there are some in the country who own up to three mobile phones there are also whole communities of up to 600 families without access to a single phone line. ‘We have to develop low-cost networks to provide telephony and internet access,’ Vargas told the paper. He said that Indotel will invest DOP299 million (USD9.2 million) in building new computer and internet access centres and virtual libraries in 2006, but urged the state to invest more money. ‘Indotel’s policy is to make access available to groups of people, and for this reason we are creating centres in communities of over 10,000 inhabitants, as well as in schools and universities.’ According to Indotel, the number of fixed lines in service had fallen to 896,252 at the end of 2005, from 936,000 a year earlier. Mobile subscribers grew from 2.5 million at the end of 2004 to around 3.5 million a year later. Internet penetration stands at 11%.

Dominican Republic