State-owned internet service provider (ISP) Radiografica Costarricense (RACSA) is involved in negotiations to purchase rival ISP and pay-TV operator Cablevision, reports NexTV Latam. Discussions between Cablevision and RACSA have been ongoing for several months, and are being led by Francesco Caldart, the owner of Cablevision, and Claudio Bermudez, the Telecommunications Manager for RACSA’s parent company Grupo ICE. RACSA has been struggling to compete effectively in the broadband sector since the internet services market was liberalised in June 2009, when cablecos Amnet and Cable Tica were given licences to offer internet services over their own infrastructure without making large contributions to RACSA. Local news sources suggest that RACSA ended 2011 with fewer than 50,000 broadband subscribers, compared to an estimated 250,000 at the end of 2009.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, the telco was forced to abandon plans to roll out fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network to more than 80,000 households in San Jose after failing at the eleventh hour to secure an agreement with its intended partner, Sweden’s Via Europa. Without the financial backing or assistance of Via Europa, RACSA has been forced to scale back to a more cost-effective strategy of rolling out mixed infrastructure. 100,000 connections will be composed of a mixture of fibre-optic cable and copper wire, whilst a further 20,000 will be solely fibre-based.