Minister Says Tech Ranking Will Improve

April 29, 2005

SCIENCE and Technology MinisterFernando Gutiérrez this week respondedto a World Economic Forum report thatplaced Costa Rica in the lower half of 104countries in terms of potential in informationtechnologies.The minister boasted of the progressCosta Rica has made this year in land basedand mobile phone lines and said along-awaited high-speed broadbandInternet network will be inaugurated bythe middle of this year – a refrain CostaRicans have heard many times before.According to Gutiérrez, the indicatorsused in the report – such as land-line andcell phone availability, Internet access inschools and quality of math and scienceteachers (TT, April 22) – are based ondata from 2002-2004 that did not reflectthe country’s situation at the time thereport was announced.Costa Rica ranked particularly low inavailability of cell phones (99 out of 104countries) and new phone lines (98 outof 104).The minister said the Costa RicanElectricity Institute (ICE) would inauguratethe Advanced Internet Network, ahigh-speed ADSL broadband Internet network,by the middle of this year. The networkwill have 207 linkage points strategicallylocated throughout the country.The system’s core is already installed andwill help provide nearly 200 communitieswith access to high-speed Internet beforethe end of the year, Gutiérrez said.The minister also said ICE hasinstalled more than 350,000 new landlinesof a total of 445,000 it plans to install thisyear. By October, 600,000 new second generationGSM cellular telephone lineswill be in operation, fulfilling existingdemand.

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