The government of Paraguay has wrapped up a deal with telecom carrier Copaco to provide free internet access to more than 900 schools in remote parts of the country.
As per the deal signed with the ministry of education and science, the operator will roll out fiber optic cables across the country and set up wi-fi hotspots in every school. Eduardo Neri González, president of Copaco, said the wi-fi hotspots will provide speeds of five to eight mega bytes per second.
“The program will provide 500,000 children with internet access, placing the globe into their hands. That is priceless. We are talking about more than a third of the student population,” said Enrique Riera, Minister for Education and Science, in a statement.
Many of these students had already been given laptops for free by the Secretariat of Information and Communication Technologies under a program called ReVA (Virtual Resources for Learning).
In addition, the ministry will develop educational content for the students to read online. Already, according to Riera, about 300 text books are available online. “If you do not have a math book, you can just download it from the web,” he said.
Analysts say the program will benefit as many as 962 schools and colleges across the country. Under the agreement, Copaco needs to provide the service for four years. It is not clear whether the operator will start charging for the service later.