The World Bank’s board of directors has approved the extension of Nicaragua’s Rural Telecommunications Project, with an additional credit line of USD5 million. The funding will be used to expand telecoms access to more than 200,000 rural inhabitants in Rio San Juan, the Region Autonoma del Atlantico Norte (RAAN), the Region Autonoma del Atlantico Sur (RAAS) and the Alto Wanki Territory. The rural initiative, which was introduced in 2007, with an initial investment of USD7 million, has already installed broadband access points in 101 municipalities, expanded mobile phone coverage to 37 rural communities, and installed almost 600 public phones in rural areas. In these areas, poverty levels reach almost 55%, and the problems are especially prevalent in indigenous communities which lack access to the country’s national communication networks.
Orlando Castillo, executive president of the Instituto Nicaraguense de Telecomunicaciones y Correos (Telcor), commented: ‘With the extension of this project, we will be able to increase regional access to telecommunications services by at least 40%, something that will have a positive effect on the local economy.’