Bolivian state-owned telecoms group Empresa Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (Entel) – not to be confused with the Chilean Group of the same name, which offers services in Peru under the Entel Peru and Americatel bands – has unveiled plans to launch commercial broadband services in Peru, as part of a series of new agreements signed at the ‘Peru-Bolivia Binational Cabinet’ meeting in late August this year. Whilst the details of the agreements are currently sketchy, El Deber quotes Bolivian Minister of Public Works Milton Claros – one of the participants of the cabinet meeting – as saying that there are no longer any legal barriers preventing Entel, or any other Bolivian state-owned entities, from operating in Peru. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s Cable Compendium, Entel announced in July this year that it would invest between USD40 million and USD60 million on the deployment of a fibre-optic cable through Peruvian territory to the Pacific Ocean, where it would connect to submarine cable networks. The new bilateral agreement has cleared the path for Entel to create a Peruvian subsidiary to construct and manage the planned network, with the added bonus that the new unit will also be able to provide services to the public. Mr Claros confirmed that the new Entel subsidiary will not limit its coverage to southern Peru, but did not provide any more details.
The fibre deployment is expected before the end of 2017, and will take around a year to complete. Land-locked Bolivia currently takes most of its international fibre connectivity via links with neighbouring Chile, but these connections are expensive and the government is negotiating with other countries such as Brazil and Argentina in an attempt to source other routes. The proposal to deploy a 1,600km link via Peru to the Pacific Ocean was first unveiled in March 2015, though no timescale for the rollout was disclosed at the time.