San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica improves broadband access

Costa Rica’s broadband Internet access is improving but still lags behind many developing nations, according to the State of Broadband Report 2013 from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. 

Broadband Internet access is “essential” to modern society, according to UNESCO, and the World Bank estimates that a 10 percent increase in broadband penetration could yield 1.21 to 1.38 percent for high-income and low/middle-income countries, respectively.

The report defines broadband as “always on, high-capacity connectivity enabling combined provision of multiple services simultaneously.”

The Central American country improved the most in mobile broadband Internet access, up to 81st place in the world in 2012 from 104th in 2011, according to the UNESCO report, bringing the total to 14.5 Ticos per 100 with mobile Internet access.

The report estimated that Internet-ready smartphones could make up half the sales of all mobile phones by 2016.

While mobile penetration is up, Costa Rica still lags behind the world average of 22.1 per 100 inhabitants. 

Costa Rica had the third-highest percentage of households with Internet in Latin America, at 47.3 percent, behind Uruguay (48.4 percent) and Argentina (47.5 percent). The percentage of households with broadband access also increased from 33.6 percent in 2011.

The report laments that while much of the developed world enjoys access to high-speed Internet connections over 5 Mbps, the same cannot be said for much of Africa, southern Asia and Latin America. 

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