Government to provide broadband access to every municipality by end-2007

27 Nov 2006

The Brazilian government has announced plans to provide broadband internet access in all municipalities nationwide by the end of next year, writes BNamericas which cites local newspapers quoting the country’s communications minister Hélio Costa. At present, the federal government has 3,258 broadband access points across 2,057 municipalities, but it intends to increase this to 8,000 access points over all of Brazil’s 5,658 municipalities, Costa told a public meeting. The Minister says the state plans to utilise the universal internet access programme, Gesac, to provide broadband internet services via terrestrial and satellite platforms as well as via digital inclusion contracts with telecoms operators. However, critics of the scheme have responded by saying it is over ambitious. José Barbosa Melo, president of the IT and communications committee (CTIC) of the Brazilian American Chamber of Commerce (Amcham), told BNamericas that the government’s plan was ‘not realistic’, saying that a much larger investment was needed to realise its goal. Melo went on to say that in a country where even mobile phone technology, which has been used for much longer than fixed broadband technologies, had not yet achieved coverage of every municipality, it was unlikely that the government could gain broadband nationwide penetration within the next twelve months. Others have gone further to suggest that the minister’s statement is more a publicity stunt than a realistic goal.