Paraguayan regulator the National Telecommunications Council (Consejo Nacional de Telecomunicaciones, Conatel) has awarded a Universal Services Fund (USF) contract to Vox Ingenieria, a consortium of cellco Hola Paraguay (Vox) and Lecsa Lex Ingenieria, to extend telecoms services to indigenous communities in remote parts of the country. Under the plan the watchdog will subsidise the sum of PYG24.97 billion (USD3.9 million) which will be used to benefit at least 23 communities via the rollout of 13 new radio base stations to provide mobile, fixed-wireless and IP telephony. Sites targeted by the contract include: Campo Loro; Tunucojai; Laguna Negra Nueva Estrella; Laguna Negra Ko’e Pyahu; Hugua Nandú; Iron kurusu; Campo Loa-Primavera; Campo Loa Community-San Ramon; Campo Loa-Nasuc and San Pio 10. The consortium was the sole bidder for the contract.
Conatel has confirmed it will award the subsidy in stages. A 40% share will be dispersed on signing of the contract, followed by a further 30% (on completion of 70% of earmarked sites), and the remainder on completion of the contract. Any delays, however, will likely result in fines, it added.