Last summer, sunbathers lounging along Rio de Janeiro’s and Sao Paulo’s white sandy beaches could check their e-mail, scan headlines and shop online from Internet-enabled carts.
The brightly painted carts came equipped with laptops connected to a wireless service provided by Enterasys, one of the country’s 20 wireless operators, plus content provided by Yahoo’s Brazilian unit.
Recent developments such as these laptop-equipped carts roaming the beaches of Rio and Sao Paulo are a good indication that Latin America is starting to catch up with the rest of the planet. Ocean-front wireless access is a hint, but only a hint, of what’s on the horizon not only for Brazil, but also for the rest of the region.
It is estimated that there are only around seven computers per 100 people in Latin America. To bridge the digital divide, governments have developed telecentres where people can surf the Internet, often free of charge. Cybercafés, offering Internet services and often also VoIP telephony, have mushroomed throughout the region.
But the rising star for fixed-line operators in Brazil is ADSL. According to Teleco Brasil, ADSL accounted for 83.5% of total broadband subscribers at end-2004. Teleco Brasil estimated that the number of broadband lines would continue to grow by around 90% during 2005, to reach 4.21 million subscribers by year-end, of which 85% would be ADSL.
In fact, Latin America is one of the world’s most promising broadband markets, growing at an annual rate of around 87% (2004). The Latin American broadband leaders are Brazil, Chile, Argentina and Mexico, and in early 2005 these four countries accounted for 87% of all broadband subscribers in the region. Technologies include cable modem, DSL, wireless broadband and satellite broadband. Of these, ADSL has emerged as the clear leader, growing by 104% in 2004.
Brazil – Data, Internet, Broadband and E-Services;
Latin America – Data, Internet, Broadband and E-Services.
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