In Costa Rica, three companies compete to bring free Wi-Fi to 500 areas of the country

This article appeared on American Expatriate Costa Rica
English-language news and information on Costa Rica.

May 11, 2018 by Staff News Writer
The companies Coopeguanacaste, Telecable, and the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity (ICE) compete for the allocation of resources of the Public Connected Spaces program of the National Telecommunications Fund (FONATEL) to develop the Public Connected Spaces program that brings free Wi-Fi to 515 areas throughout the country.
The participation of ICE is part of a consortium in which its subsidiary RACSA and the company PC Central also participate. Among the beneficiary areas there are parks, plazas, libraries, train stations, Civic Centers, and the campuses of the five public universities.
The projects of the Connected Public Spaces program divide the country into three large zones. The first zone includes the provinces of Guanacaste, including the entire Nicoya Peninsula, Alajuela, part of Heredia and San José. The second zone covers another part of the provinces of Heredia, San José and Puntarenas. The third zone covers Cartago and the Province of Limón.
The Consortium formed by ICE, RACSA, and PC Central made an offer for the three zones for a total amount of $70.8 million. Coopeguanacaste offered to connect the second zone for $19.9 million, and Telecable offered to connect the third zone for $15.5 million.
From now on, the Superintendence of Telecommunications (SUTEL), as administrator of FONATEL, will have a maximum of 45 days to review the bids and award. The company or awarded companies will have between six and 18 months to deliver the works, depending on the complexity of each project.
It is a very important step in the development of broadband networks that will open new opportunities to the inhabitants of the whole country, improve the connection capacity in many areas, and reflect the interest of the Costa Rican capital companies in investing in this project,”
explained Manuel Emilio Ruiz, member of the Supervisory Board.
SUTEL expects the first digital zones to start operating during the third quarter of 2018. FONATEL finances the construction of broadband infrastructure and also pays the monthly cost of the service so that the population can enjoy Internet for free.

Some of the areas and institutions benefited are: the Public Libraries of Guararí de Heredia and Cañas in Guanacaste, the train station of the Basilica in Cartago, and Plaza de Hacienda Vieja in Tejar del Guarco in Cartago, the Tourists Walk in Puntarenas, the cycle route in Caldera and La Paquera, Cóbano and Lepanto docks, in addition to Agua Buena Parks in Coto Brus, Río Cuba, Bribrí and Hone Creek in Limón, Dominica Park in Turrialba, and Vuelta de Jorco Park in Aserrí; among others.
It is estimated that the program will benefit more than three million people throughout the country.

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