MTC unveils rural connectivity project

5 Feb 2021

Peru’s Council of Ministers has approved an emergency decree to implement extraordinary measures to close the digital connectivity gap by providing internet access to rural communities. In a statement from the Ministry of Transport and Communications (Ministerio de Transportes y Comunicaciones, MTC), the government claimed that the project would enable 3.2 million Peruvians to access the internet. The project comprises three parts, the first of which is to connect 1,151 public institutions in 860 remote locations in parts of the Loreto, Ucayali, Madre de Dios and Amazonas regions through satellite technology. In addition, a Wi-Fi hotspot will be installed in each of these locations to provide local residents with free access to the internet. The MTC is aiming to complete this initial phase in 2021.

The second part of the programme entails the rollout of 6,531 hotspots to the public spaces of rural towns and villages across the Huancavelica, Ayacucho, Apurimac, Lambayeque, Cusco and Lima regions, benefiting an estimated 2.2 million Peruvians. Access to these hotspots will also be free, and connections are expected to provide downlink speeds of between 20Mbps and 40Mbps. The first 3,636 hotspots are set to be deployed in 2021.

Finally, the third element will see the government establish around 1,000 Digital Access Centres (Centros de Acceso Digital, CAD) – facilities equipped with computers, tablets and other devices – to promote ICT literacy and provide access to equipment. The first 564 CADs are to be set up in 2021, and will be concentrated in the Huanuco and Pasco regions.

Telecom Minister Eduardo Gonzalez was quoted as saying of the programme: ‘These three fundamental actions promoted by the MTC will allow us to accelerate the closing of the digital divide in the midst of a health crisis.’ The initiatives are expected to cost around PEN50 million (USD13.6 million) in the first year and will be financed from the MTC’s institutional budget. The MTC added that the investment was separate from the PEN130 million investment allocated to National Telecommunications Programme (Programa Nacional de Telecomunicaciones, Pronatel) projects for 2021.