Brazil’s Ministry of Communications (MiniCom) has announced the winning bidders of its tender to connect 262 cities to the internet as part of the second stage of its ‘Digital Cities’ programme. In a press release, the ministry confirmed that five winning companies will be responsible for the creation of an executive project to build fibre-optic networks in the locations covered under the scheme, which will be broken down into batches of 16 cities, it says. The plan, which is expected to cost BRL228 million (USD100.2 million) and covers cities with up to 50,000 inhabitants, will connect local public bodies and provide spaces for open access in the 262 municipalities involved. The first phase of Digital Cities is completed and covers 80 cities. Commenting on the plan, MiniCom’s secretary of digital inclusion, Laila Hossain, said: ‘We are investing similar amounts in each of the cities of the pilot and the second phase of the programme. The difference is that in the second phase we are using underground fibre and are connecting most points of government, because the new technology allows the connection of more points at a lower cost.’ MiniCom hopes to sign contracts with the winning bidders next week.