Flourish of the pen opens Costa Rica’s telecom market
In a historic moment for Costa Rica, President Oscar Arias signed a law yesterday that will end the state’s 59-year-old monopoly on telecommunications services.
The measure will allow other national and foreign firms to join the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) in offering cell phone, Internet, radio and other telecom services here.
The law will go into effect after it is published in La Gaceta, the official government daily publication.
The first private telecom firm will likely open in two years, ICE President Pedro Pablo Quirós said yesterday. An open market will be welcome to foreigners without residency papers, who are not allowed to own their own land or cell phones lines through ICE.
Competition will force ICE to improve its outdated services, Quirós said.
“We have 12,500 employees and 8,000 contractors,” he said. “We should not be running the company like a general store.”
The law puts Costa Rica in compliance with the most hotly contested part of the Central American Free-Trade Agreement with the United States (CAFTA), ratified by referendum in October 2007.
Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets in the past decade to protest an open telecom market.
You may be interested
Honduran opposition protesters take to the streetsNoe Leiva / AFP - December 15, 2017
Supporters of the leftist opposition in Honduras blocked streets in various cities around that country on Friday, despite political repression,…
Of snow, kindness and Northern Lights: a Costa Rican in Manitoba, CanadaGustavo Díaz Cruz - December 14, 2017
My mom named me Gustavo Adolfo. I was born in Puntarenas, next to the sea, but my home was in…
Response to disaster: aid successes, struggles in post-Maria Puerto RicoJohn McPhaul - December 13, 2017
As Costa Rica joins many other nations in looking back upon the horrendous 2017 hurricane season, longtime Tico Times contributor…