Colombia's Ministry of Information Technology and Communications (MTIC) has awarded Union Temporal Fibra Optica Colombia, a joint venture between TV Azteca and Total Play, a contract to build and operate the its proposed countrywide fiber network.
Expected to take 30 months to complete, the 15,000-km Vive Digital network will provide connectivity to 1,078 municipalities with an emphasis on serving harder to serve rural areas.
"Most of the telecom development in Colombia is limited to the urban areas," said Jose F. Otero, President, Signals Telecom Consulting, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "This network seeks to connect all the departmental capitals (32 in total) and provide Internet access to public schools, hospitals and government buildings."
As a public/private partnership, the Colombian government would foot part of the bill with privately-owned service providers paying the remainder of the investment.
Set on increasing Internet connections from 2.2 million today to 8.8 million by 2014, the government will invest COP 415.8 billion (USD 216.6 million) in the project.
While there has been a lot of talk that Totalplay's move into Colombia could spark another fight between Telmex (NYSE: TMX) and the Salinas Group, Otero said the model in Colombia is different than what it offers in Mexico.
"In Colombia they will connect rural areas with low population density and inhabited by low income families," he said. "On the other hand, Totalplay in Mexico is a service tailored to high end households (100 Mbps downlink speeds, IPTV, etc.).
Otero added that regardless of how Totalplay is perceived, "the entrance of a new player into Colombia's market is very positive for the government."
- TeleGeography has this article
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