The Superintendency of Telecommunications (Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones, Sutel) has approved the selection of Claro and Kolbi – the telecommunications brand of state-owned utility provider Grupo Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (Grupo ICE) – for two rollout programmes under the National Telecommunications Fund (Fondo Nacional de Telecomunicaciones, Fonatel). The projects will see the duo provide internet access and telephony to communities in Siquirres, Pococi, Guacimo, Matina, Limon and Talamanca, benefiting around 219,000 people. In addition, the two telcos would provide direct connections for 313 schools and colleges, 74 health centres, five Intelligent Community Centres and 20 of the health ministry’s Centres for Education and Nutrition and Children’s Comprehensive Care (CEN-CINAI). 17 companies entered bids for the rollout, but Claro and Kolbi presented the best economic offers and met all other requirements. Claro will handle the deployments in the Pococi canton, whilst Kolbi will be responsible for the installation in other areas.
Sutel’s chairman Manuel Emilio Ruiz Gutierrez commented on the project: ‘Fonatel is investing USD5.5 million in the area [and] we are confident [that this] will boost development in these communities through telecommunications services. As the administrators of Fonatel, Sutel is working to close the digital divide and have a fully connected country.’