Chile, one of the fastest developing countries in Latin America, is making moves to ensure its population has the best possible access to one of the vital tools of the 21st Century – the Internet.
Beginning earlier this year, a government initiative is installing a thousand new free wireless internet hotspots across the country. For a nation as geographically spread out across widely varying climates from the dry plateaus of the Atacama to the rugged landscape of Patagonia, this program will mean important and reliable internet access for many Chileans.
The plan expects 2,500 wifi zones to be up and running before the end of 2014. By the end of this year alone, there will be 1,000 wifi hotspots, with work to add 700 to the current total of 300 already underway.
According to Deputy Minister of telecommunications, Jorge Atton, the underlying goal is to ensure Chileans have access to stay connected.
“The major objective is that, here at the end of 2013, we have installed a thousand points”, Atton told La Tercera.
The Deputy Minister noted that the program is expected to benefit 259 communities in the country. It will be in addition to the network of public Wi-Fi that exists in 22 Metro stations in the capital, Santiago, and more than 422 libraries and in 315 provinces and tourist areas.
This is all part of a bigger initiative promoted by the Chilean government, and championed by President Sebastián Piñera, to increase internet access from today’s 40.7 percent of Chileans to 80 percent by 2020.
“Our society requires connectivity and digital inclusion,” Piñera said when the plan was launched. “It requires that we all be connected.”
Chile has been making efforts to improve access to technology among the population as its economy and status as a business hub for Latin America continues to grow. Earlier this year, these efforts were acknowledged by the World Economic Forum, which ranked Chile 34 in its survey of 144 nations’ access to Information and Communications Technology, jumping five spots from last year’s ranking.