Costa Rica invests $47.9 million in connectivity initiative for Indigenous territories

The Costa Rican Institute of Electricity (ICE) has been awarded $47.9 million to bring telephone and Internet services to Indigenous territories in the south of Costa Rica and near its Atlantic coast. The investment was made through the National Telecommunications Fund (FONATEL), which is administered by Costa Rica’s national telecommunications regulator, Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones (SUTEL).

ICE will connect 751 towns, and 119 schools and colleges across 14 Indigenous territories. The plans were drawn up after extensive consultations with the beneficiary communities. In a statement, the Board of Directors of SUTEL said, “Everything is possible with joint work and respect for communities… [through] meetings with the inhabitants and with the leaders of the indigenous territories [and] through dialogues and agreements that respect their autonomy and their vision of development.”

Costa Rica’s General Telecommunications Law No. 8642 makes specific provisions for the digital inclusion of the country’s Indigenous populations, and the National Telecommunication Development Plan likewise aims to reduce the digital divide in Costa Rica. Internet access has been highlighted by the National Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC) as having an especially important impact on reducing poverty.

SUTEL is in on-going discussions to similarly extend telephony and Internet services to the country’s remaining nine Indigenous territories.

SourceLa Republica