Mobile operators ask for more investment in education and ICT in Colombia to reduce the digital divide

Courtesy MinTIC

On the second day of Andicom, the Latin American meeting of technologies

of the information and communication that takes place each year in Colombia, the spokespersons of the mobile operators had the opportunity to publicize their position regarding what is being done in the sector from the Government.

Therefore, they spoke about the perspective of the industry focused on the state and future of national connectivity.

The president of ETB, Sergio González, revealed that Colombia should invest 9 billion pesos a year to achieve universal access for the population to the internet in 2030, according to data projected by the DNP in 2019.

“Currently the operators invest almost 5 billion pesos and the Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications contributes 2.2 billion pesos annually; It would take almost twice as much public investment per year to close the digital divide in the next 10 years. In this sense, investment should be a co-responsibility between the main sectors of the State for which ICTs are an intrinsic development platform, ”said the president of said operator.

Therefore, it explains that if the following sectors contributed less than 1% of their annual budget, the goal would be achieved.

“In addition, we no longer only have a digital divide but also a substantial difference between homes connected with copper and those that have fiber optics, since a traditional connection is not enough when the pandemic demonstrated that connections above 50 megabytes are necessary to support activities simultaneous study, work and entertainment at home ”, stated Sergio González Guzmán.

Emcali, América Móvil, Telefónica and ETB were part of this session where they also gave their opinion on the investments of recent years in the sector.

Juan Carlos Archila, president of América Móvil, reinforced the need for a national investment, but emphasized the legal difficulties that do not allow guaranteeing the necessary connectivity so that this investment is reflected in a reduction of the digital divide.

“What must be done with this national investment to enhance the productivity and competitiveness of the Colombian territory? The elimination of barriers to the deployment of infrastructure is necessary. The first thing to do should be to guarantee legal certainty so that operators can project their investments efficiently. On the other hand, it is necessary to eliminate administrative and social barriers, as well as the consolidation of a public policy that encourages this deployment ”.

In this sense, he stated that more advanced mobile technologies should be implemented, technology migration, fostering investment in networks and especially the reduction of tax and fiscal burdens in the sector; This, according to him, would guarantee an important step to the digital transformation of the country that is made up of factors such as connectivity and infrastructure, IOT automation, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence.

Finally, Libardo Sánchez, ICT manager of Emcali, said that “Cali carried out a process to have a long-range link network of more than 40 kilometers between the mountain ranges. This milestone was achieved using Lorawan low-energy phone connection technology. This network has the particularity of being self-managed and with its own generation of energy through solar panels. This means that the points and nodes monitor each other wirelessly and do not use batteries, so the durability will depend on the same electronics that are implemented at each point ”.

So far, neither the Executive nor the ICT minister have commented on the requests of the leaders of mobile telephony in the country.


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