LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE 360 SERIES – LATIN AMERICA, BUENOS AIRES: Raul Martinez from state-owned telecoms company ARSAT (pictured) talked about the organisation’s work to reduce Argentina’s digital divide, stating in a keynote session that “we want to give connectivity to all citizens”.
“We believe that using the internet is almost a right for a human being. Experience says that connectivity is very welcome, aside from the issues of quality,” he said. “There are many areas of Argentina that have nothing, really nothing.”
ARSAT is active across a number of technology platforms, with activities covering digital terrestrial television, fibre and satellite, as well as owning a data centre.
“Our fibre optic network is 52,000km, and we are lighting the fibre and trying to reach out to cities. In the beginning the project had a network that would go along a road, and it didn’t reach villages, so we are bringing this last mile connection either directly or through investments, and promoting a local ISP or collective so they can provide local internet service or connectivity to the village.”
Martinez also said that satellite connectivity is a key part of its portfolio for reaching unconnected areas: “It is very important for us to focus on satellites, and we are trying to provide a home satellite service, so that for those regions where there is no home connectivity, because the different resources are not there, we provide services.”
Due to its relationship with the state, ARSAT is also working to drive the creation of new businesses working in the local connectivity space.
“Our goal is to generate the conditions where the ISPs or SMEs can develop. We are not competing in this segment as ARSAT, we want them to get the business. We are providing network infrastructure, and the entrepreneur or company that is local and knows the village and the cities can develop.”
Of course, Argentina also has a number of commercial telecoms operators, and Martinez said relationships with them are also good: “We have commercial interactions, they are clients, they are suppliers. We share their problems with the government, the problems we have in getting access to different places.”
“With each of the carriers, we have significant connectivity projects, they use our infrastructure and sometimes we trade infrastructure. We have a very close relationship.”Subscribe to our daily newsletter