The COVID-19 crisis has hit Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) like any other region, underscoring the importance of a resilient and inclusive recovery.
Enhanced digital access is the foundation of this push and requires comprehensive policy, regulatory strategy and additional infrastructure spending. This is particularly important as the area prepares for the rollout of 5G while continuing to roll out its 4G network.
The justification for digital access is unequivocal. Digitization improves social and financial inclusion, as well as educational and health outcomes. The lack of stable Internet sources disadvantages many and denies them access to essential services.
Countries with stable internet access have shown significant improvement in almost every sector such as transport, health, education and entertainment.
The Current State of the Internet in Latin America and the Caribbean
As of June of the same year, the area had over 450 million internet users, up from about 200 million in 2010. South America had the highest internet availability rate, with 72% of the population having access to the service.
However, the barriers are significant: poor and patchy coverage, expensive internet subscriptions and device costs continue to hamper digital access. Less than half of LAC’s population has fixed broadband access and only 9.9% have high-quality fiber optic connectivity at home.
Although 87% of the population is well served by a 4G signal, actual usage and adoption remain low (3%). Also, only four in ten rural Latin Americans have access to the Internet, compared to 71% of the population in metropolitan areas.
Everywhere you look you will see why the internet is widespread or not.
What is the main use of the internet in LAC?
The average duration of online activity in Latin America has exceeded three hours per person per day, with mobile devices accounting for the majority of time spent online. Like everywhere else in the world, the Internet in LAC is used for activities such as:
- Social Media Access – Participating in social media is one of the most popular internet activities across the region. In Latin America, social networks were used by 81% of internet users.
- News & Entertainment – Most people keep up to date with events and watch new shows and movies from streaming sites right from their phones or PCs.
- Interactive Play – Gaming generally includes multiplayer games, participation in single games, online casinos and much more.
- Shopping – Retail in Latin America shows that it is growing quite rapidly. By 2019, e-commerce sales reached more than $70 billion, with a significant surge during the pandemic suggesting they could reach $160 billion by 2025.
- education – Most information, papers, books and even basic educational resources can be found online and have become vital during the pandemic.
- Access to productivity tools – Another consequence of the pandemic has been the shift to remote working and later hybrid working, which has meant that every productivity tool has gone online and is accessible from anywhere with an internet connection.
- Download files – The Internet is a great place to share images, videos, and other downloadable files that are vital in places where the Internet is too patchy to support reliable video streaming or online-only access.
These are by no means the only ways the internet is used or why it matters. Internet connection has become a basic element of modern life, essential for ensuring freedom of speech, political participation, health and other basic human rights.
It provides an important forum for underprivileged populations to promote social change and build identities. That’s why access is important. So how can Latin America address the problem and close the gap?
Let’s look at some solutions:
A leased line is a dedicated circuit from the nearest fiber link to your site. Leased lines guarantee better connectivity and faster broadband speeds.
Leased lines ensure that internet service is not interrupted or slow. This would be ideal for businesses, residential areas and community facilities. Such connectivity would also benefit people investing in stock markets, sports news, casinos and students.
Businesses known for fast service are likely to attract more customers.
This is an ideal setup for businesses in rural or suburban areas with limited Internet access. Point-to-point transmits signals wirelessly from one point to another within the site line.
It can also increase the signal strength in one’s premises, making it easier to access services. A stronger signal improves broadband speed.
It is well known that modern devices have additional functions that are necessary for efficiency. Upgrading your own devices, e.g. B. the wireless router, could be a good option.
Older technologies on broadband will slow things down significantly. Upgrading your devices reduces errors and improves overall connectivity.
Switching to 4G Wi-Fi ensures reliable speeds and a seamless browsing experience. This reliability is especially important for users who want to stream content such as games, TV shows, and movies, and perform other high-bandwidth tasks.
If the connection is still poor after switching to 4G, you should connect an antenna to the router or look for other tips to make sure it’s picking up the signals.
Improvement doesn’t come cheap, but it’s worth it
In addition, the government and telecom companies need to invest more in infrastructure to ensure better connectivity. Durable and reliable infrastructure and systems solve half of the problems that limit internet connectivity.
While the process of renewing or setting up the required systems will be costly at first, the rewards are worth it.
Guaranteed access to the internet without any interruptions or barriers ensures that people can access all the sites and platforms they need. As the need for internet connectivity grows in Latin America, so does the demand for reliable services, presenting a major gap that needs to be filled by potential investors and the government.
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Last modified: August 19, 2022