Government unveils programme to increase rural connectivity

29 Nov 2019

The Ecuadorian government has announced plans to make mobile and internet connectivity more affordable in rural areas of the country, after agreeing a deal with Claro, Movistar and CNT, reports El Telegrafo. Speaking at a press event, telecoms minister Andres Michelena explained the price of internet access will be reduced by around 55%, to USD11 a month in December and USD9.50 from March 2020. The programme aims to ensure internet access is available across 98% of the country’s territory by increasing 4G network coverage and deploying 1,450 free Wi-Fi hotspots. The telcos plan to introduce mobile phone plans costing as little as USD1 a month and pre-paid internet packages priced from USD5 for a 3MB data allowance. They will also work together to build shared mobile sites in areas with no internet access in order to provide cheaper connectivity. The government hopes the plan, which is subject to approval of its draft budget, will enable an additional 127,000 households to access the internet.