Statement from the Costa Rica’s state-owned electricity and telecom company ICE
- Schedules were approved by the SUTEL-BNCR trust.
- ICE maintains communication with inhabitants of the South and Atlantic areas.
- 105 communities, 87 educational centers and 32 health centers benefited.
The projects to bring internet and telephony services to 14 indigenous territories in the South and Atlantic zones – within the framework of Fonatel’s Connected Communities program – are progressing according to the schedules and will be activated sequentially between July 2021 and December 2022.
This according to the term approved by the Superintendency of Telecommunications and National Bank of Costa Rica ( SUTEL-BNCR ) trust and in monitoring the health provisions in the face of the emergency due to the pandemic.
Aware of the need to contribute to closing the digital divide in these towns, the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) was the only operator interested in participating in the contests held by the trust to provide them with connectivity.
Altogether, the project will allow 105 communities, 87 educational centers and 32 health centers to have telecommunications facilities. The project will install 53 new towers and retrofit seven existing ones that will provide voice, internet and cellular coverage. This year the services will be activated in Talamanca Cábecar and Tayni (Atlantic Zone), as well as in Rey Curré and Salitre (South Zone).
As of today, there are seven towers in the Atlantic Zone; This infrastructure must be equipped with the equipment that allows its complete operation, to then pass the technical tests and end with the delivery to the trust.
Due to the health emergency and in compliance with the measures adopted by the Government of the Republic and the State institutions, in March 2020 the project applied clause 20.1 in order to reduce the risk of contagion of the virus that causes COVID-19 .
This clause established the suspension of work in order to create an epidemiological fence to protect the inhabitants of said territories and the Institute’s workers. Last September, and in common agreement with the trust, this clause was lifted to advance with the work, following strict health protocols.
ICE has worked closely, timely and jointly with the General Directorate of the National Telecommunications Fund (Fonatel) in the revalidation of the agreements with the Indigenous Development Associations (ADIs) for the entry and use of land within these communities, as established by current regulations.
In parallel, the Institute maintains communication with the indigenous peoples to inform the scope of the project, an essential aspect to progress with the permits of the regulatory entities in environmental matters and the construction of works with the respective municipalities.