Ecuador to Set Up IT Community Centers to Foster Knowledge Economy

Ecuador’s telecommunications ministry Mintel has unveiled plans to set up 302 IT community centers, known locally as Infocentros, in 2014, to provide its citizens with wider and easier …

Jaime Guerrero Ruiz

Ecuador’s telecommunications ministry Mintel has unveiled plans to set up 302 IT community centers, known locally as Infocentros, in 2014, to provide its citizens with wider and easier access to the Internet and online technology.

Infocentros are part of a broader plan designed to help Ecuador foster a knowledge-based economy, the country’s Telecommunications Minister Jaime Guerrero Ruiz stated at a digital forum organized in the capital Quito last week.

Private sector companies will also be persuaded to invest in IT community centers in the name of corporate social responsibility, the minister said.

Also in the offing is a plan to set up Wi-Fi networks in more than 2,400 schools so that the education sector can benefit from the vast treasure of information on the World Wide Web.  “The Wi-Fi network will not only benefit students and their teachers but also parents and other citizens in the area,” the minister said.

Guerrero also added that the government might make it mandatory for teachers to obtain digital certificates before signing up for the teaching service.

Meanwhile, Ecuador plans to roll out fiber-optic networks to increase the speed of broadband by 64 megabytes-per-second every year. Similar plans have already proved fruitful in countries like Brazil and China, Guerrero said.

The telecom ministry stated that it would go on devising and implementing innovative ICT infrastructure projects as it strongly believes that online technology can contribute immensely to the growth of the Ecuadorian economy.

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The number of new broadband connections in Ecuador has reportedly skyrocketed in recent months, forcing the government to make fresh investments to bolster its telecom infrastructure. According to Supertel, Ecuador’s telecom regulator, the number of Internet users has grown 37% in the last year.

Broadband and fiber connections increased to 9.5 million in March 2013 from a mere 1.5 million users four years ago.

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