CANTO Weekly Newsletter – BNamericas 04/15/16

CANTO Weekly Newsletter – BNamericas 04/15/16

Antigua & Barbuda eyeing telecoms reform – Caribbean

ROUNDUP: Tigo Guatemala, AT&T Puerto Rico, Telmex – Regional

Dominican president announces Digital Republic initiative – Dominican R.

Telefónica ratifies Álvarez-Pallete as CEO – Regional

Costa Rica Connected Homes project recognized by UN – Costa Rica

Antigua & Barbuda eyeing telecoms reform – Caribbean

Antigua & Barbuda’s ICT ministry hopes to have a telecoms reform bill passed in the next six weeks, which will update 65 year-old legislation and create an independent regulatory commission to manage competition.

ICT minister Melford Nicholas said that the cost of broadband in the country is among the highest in the Caribbean, but with slow speeds, and that is largely to do with the fact that the state telco APUA has a monopoly on the fixed line market which has stymied investment and competition. Therefore, liberalizing the fixed line market is one of the key areas of the reform.

“The investment isn’t there because the regulatory and legislative environment isn’t there to facilitate it,” Nicholas told BNamericas.

At the moment the only company that can operate a fixed line network is state telco APUA. And because of that it stymies competition. So everybody is operating at the speed of a local telco.”

Two of Antigua and Barbuda’s three operators – Digicel and Lime – offer 4G LTE services. The price for 2Mbps of broadband is currently around US$48, according to Nicholas.

According to the minister, there are no real geographical obstacles to achieving close to 100% broadband coverage in the country and mobile operators have sufficient spectrum in the 700Mhz band.

APUA has an overlay gigabit network with fiber to the kerb, but has not yet not deployed fiber to the home and is unlikely to do so until there competition in that space

The full interview with Nicholas is available at this link.

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UPCOMING BNAMERICAS EVENT

5TH Mexico Infrastructure Summit

Click here to see the agenda and speakers

 

 

ROUNDUP: Tigo Guatemala, AT&T Puerto Rico, Telmex – Regional

Global telecom giant Millicom, under its Tigo brand, has launched its video-on-demand (VoD) service Tigo Play in Guatemala.

The platform is available free to Tigo Star pay-TV customers and offers the channels AXN, Cinemax Go, E! Now, Fox Play and Play+, ESPN Play, HBO Go, History Play, NatGeo, Sony and The Film Zone, according to news outlet Revista Summa.

Tigo Play will compete nationally with ClaroVideo (América Móvil) and Movistar Play (Telefónica) under the strategy of regional expansion for its VoD platforms.

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AT&T has introduced to Puerto Rico new 4G LTE data and unlimited calls packages for its DirecTV and Wireless Home Phone customers, reports local daily El Nuevo Día.

These users will have access to 15GB, 25GB or 40GB data plans from US$50, US$80 and US$120, respectively.

The packages also include unlimited calls to Puerto Rico, the US and the Virgin Islands.

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Mexican operator Telmex is supporting the 2016 Maya Mexico Rally by providing broadband connectivity through its Infinitum service, according to a Telmex blog post.

The service will be used for the organization, development and broadcasting of the event, which takes place from 13 to 21 May over 1,200km of the Yucatan Peninsula on Mexico’s east coast.

The rally starts in the town of Merida and passes through Dzibilchaltun, Izamal, Chichén Itza, Valladolid, Carrillo Puerto, Chetumal, Tulum and Playa del Carmen.

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UPCOMING BNAMERICAS EVENTS

5TH Mexico Infrastructure Summit

Click here to see the agenda and speakers

 

 

Dominican president announces Digital Republic initiative – Dominican R.

Danilo Medina, president of the Dominican Republic (pictured), has announced the launch of Digital Republic, an initiative to expand internet access and information and communications technology (ICT) in the country.

The announcement was made by the president during a re-election ceremony in the city of Santiago de los Caballeros, according to local news sources.

The project aims to provide PCs to 950,000 students and 79,500 teachers from 2017, deploy free Wi-Fi access points in 5,600 schools and 18 regional centers of the Open University of Santo Domingo (UASD) and implement a digital literacy program.

It also seeks to bring broadband to 70% of the country by 2020 and reduce the cost by more than 30% under the “broadband internet for all” scheme.

To achieve this goal, Medina announced the deployment of a national fiber optic network that will connect the provincial capitals.

The president revealed that the country already has 542km of fiber optic cables, 255km is in operation. He also explained that the bidding process isunderway for another 499km and, in the coming years, the fiber optic system will be extended a further 537km.

The program also includes an initiative to attract investment in the technology sector and encourage micro-, small- and medium-sized businesses to boost production of computers.

“We will promote R&D in national software applications and increase talent in the sector,” said the president. “We will also design a business portal, like Amazon, for the promotion and sale of all kinds of domestic products.”

Finally, Medina promised to implement a series of e-government measures, such as the creation of a portal where citizens can access and request all state services, such as obtaining a passport, birth certificate or a driver’s license renewal.

During his speech, the head of state stressed that this technological project is a well-considered proposal for the future and “will transform the Dominican Republic for good.”

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UPCOMING BNAMERICAS EVENT

5TH Mexico Infrastructure Summit

Click here to see the agenda and speakers

 

 

Telefónica ratifies Álvarez-Pallete as CEO – Regional

Telefónica’s board has approved the appointment of José María Álvarez-Pallete as executive president of the company.

Álvarez-Pallete was endorsed by outgoing executive president César Alierta, who announced his retirement in March.

With 17 years in the company, Álvarez-Pallete has held the positions of CFO and president for Latin America and president of Europe.

Telefónica also announced the resignation of Fernando de Almansa, Carlos Colomer, Santiago Fernández-Valbuena and Alfonso Ferrari from its board of directors.

Four new independent board members have been proposed: Ignacio Cirac, who is managing director of Munich-based Max Planck Insitute for Qiantum Optics; Javier Echenique, a former executive director of Grupo BBVA; Sabina Fluxà, CEO of Spanish hotel chain Grupo Iberostar, and Peter Löscher, a seasoned IT executive who has been of CEO at Siemens and General Electric Healthcare.

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UPCOMING BNAMERICAS EVENT

5TH Mexico Infrastructure Summit

Click here to see the agenda and speakers

 

 

Costa Rica Connected Homes project recognized by UN – Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s Connected Homes project, part of the national telecommunications fund Fonatel administered by the country’s regulator Sutel, has been selected for the 2016 Champion Project Award at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).

The program was nominated in the Access to Information and Knowledge category and was among the five highest-voted projects in the category, according to a Fonatel release.

As a result, the project was recognized as a Champion Project and is positioned as a finalist for the award ceremony to be held in Geneva, Switzerland on May 3.

The awards are organized by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), a specialized agency of the United Nations. They include 400 projects from around the world registered in 18 categories.

“The WSIS awards are a platform to identify and showcase success stories and models that can strengthen the community at the local level,” explains the competition website.

Fonatel is set to provide more than 13,000 students with internet access in the Sarapiquí region in the near future, having budgeted US$57mn for these kinds of projects in 2016.

The project has so far benefited more than 200,000 people, including students at 389 schools and four indigenous communities in the Matambú area.

Fonatel’s resources come from a 1.5% levy on the revenues generated by telecom operators.

Earlier this year, state-owned telco ICE was named as the biggest contributor to Fonatel, having paid in more than 31bn colones (US$57.8mn) to the program between 2010 and 2015.

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UPCOMING BNAMERICAS EVENT

5TH Mexico Infrastructure Summit

Click here to see the agenda and speakers

The information presented and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of CANTO and/or its members