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A "wedge" with high connectivity to Internet


Enrique Sanchez, journalist and volunteer of Iwith.org Foundation, gives us a perspective of ICTs and connectivity in Uruguay.

Uruguay, "wedge" between Brazil and Argentina, a small country whose form slight resembles a heart, with 3,4 million inhabitants, a ferocious emigration, a birth rate  of only 12 by thousand and a minimum salary equivalent to 40 dollars, is the first country of Latin America in connectivity to Internet – taking as base of measurement the percentage of population -- and also is at the top of sub-continent in technology, with 100% of the main optical fiber network and five connections to satellite, each one with a capacity of 150 mbps, provided by the Telecom companies of Argentina and Brazil. Recently, in addition, wireless Internet has been incorporated, with which the vast rural sector has now unrestricted access , through GSM/GPRS, the mobile technology of greater diffusion in the world.

Currently, a 24% of the Uruguayan urban homes have at least one computer. Another 18% have access in their work (8%), house of relatives or friends (4%) or through cyber café (6%), which does a total amount of 42%, percentage more than two times higher than the 18% of people with access to a computer, registered in 1998.

But for year 2010, a project want to develop the use of the information and communication technologies (ICTs) in order to reach the goal of 60% of homes and companies having access to Internet, at least half with permanent connections of DSL type.
Also, by the same year, they expect that 40,000 people creating what is called “telework”. Nevertheless, Uruguay will have to face the challenge of catching up its technological development -- based on a clear political decision of expansion of ICTs, supported in its small territory and population -- with the elimination of the unequal access to it.

In high and middle socioeconomic levels, 82% have access to computer science, but in the middle-low and low socioeconomic levels, only 15% do.

Those parameters are also reflected in the access to Internet: 60% of higher levels are connected to the network, against only 2% of the lower levels. In the middle class the 36% access to Internet.

 


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