Bolivia inaugurates its first fiber optic submarine network

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Bolivia activated its first and only submarine fiber optic network, thereby gaining direct access to the World Wide Web and reducing its dependence on foreign wholesale telecommunications providers.

The 2,200 km long cable network crosses the country’s main urban landscapes, including Tacna, Tarata, Mazocruz, Huaytire, Moquegua and Mollenda.

Until now, Bolivian operators have borrowed telecommunications capacity from wholesalers in neighboring Chile and Peru. Therefore, analysts believe that the cost of telecommunications services in the country could drop significantly in the coming months.

“Bolivia is entering the era of the fast and cheap internet,” said the country’s interim president, Jeanine ñez, after the inauguration.

The government has repeatedly said that the speed of the Internet will increase dramatically over the next few months. The internet download speed is on average 19.4 Mbps in Bolivia, according to the Ookla World Speedtest Index.

The cable network constructed at a cost of $ 66 million will be operated by the country’s public telecommunications company Entel. The project is in fact the brainchild of former president Evo Morales, who drafted a bill to declare Internet service a “human right”.

Cell phone and internet costs were disproportionately high in the country, according to Morales. “In 2007, a single Mbps cost an average of 672 bolivianos,” he recently tweeted.

“With nationalization, we have lowered the cost to 72 bolivianos (US $ 10) in 2017 and to 6.35 in 2019. The new cable network will further reduce the cost to 4.45,” he said.


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