Inverca Telecom, a Chilean company associated with Malaysia’s Packet One (P1), has been awarded a CLP56 billion (USD93 million) deal to provide wireless broadband services to rural Chile, writes BNamericas citing Chile’s transport and communications minister Rene Cortazar. The minister said that the company won because in its offer it requested zero government subsidies. The other three bidders – Telefonica Chile, Entel, and Comunicacion y Telefonia Rural (CTR) – asked for subsidies of CLP28 billion, CLP22 billion and CLP31 billion, respectively.
The project will involve providing connectivity to 1,470 rural communities that comprise more than 850,000 households and three million individuals. There are also 800 schools. Cortazar said Inverca must establish 30% coverage of the rural areas by October this year, 70% by July 2010 and 100% by March 2011, when the country expects 92% of its total population of around 16 million to have access to the internet, compared to the current 70%. The cost of the internet service will be approximately CLP15,000 a month per megabyte.