San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

More Internet Cafés Authorized

Costa Rican telecommunications officials authorized Internet access for 125 cafés this week, most of which are in the Central Valley, the Superintendent of Telecommunications (SUTEL) said.

The businesses, including 104 in the Central Valley, which includes the capital city of San José, will be allowed to provide Internet access and Voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP).

According to SUTEL, 77 Internet cafés and stores had been authorized previously and another 400 are in the authorization process.

The influx of Internet cafés is evidence of the increased interest in companies grabbing a piece of the country’s telecom market, which was opened for competition early this year. The telecom market was controlled by the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) monopoly until the country joined the Central American Free-Trade Agreement with the United States (CAFTA) on Jan. 1 of this year.

Of the 125 newly-approved Internet cafés, 88 will offer Internet access and 37 others will offer both Internet access and VoIP, which allows telephone calls to be made via the Internet.

Meanwhile, seven Costa Rican companies participated in the Costa Rica IT & Telecoms Network trade mission on Thursday in New York. The mission, organized by the Foreign Trade Promotion Office, was designed to develop potential commercial relationships with U.S.-based companies interested in participating in Costa Rica’s telecom market.

“The opening of the telecommunications market in our country, without question, offers a range of opportunities to companies in the information and communications industry,” said Foreign Trade Minister Marco Vinicio Ruiz. “For that reason, activities of this nature promote opportunities for New York companies to make contacts and participate in our telecommunications market.”

–Adam Williams

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