Some 1,000 public schools and colleges throughout Costa Rica would have broadband Internet by the end of the year if everything goes according to the provisions of the Red Educativa del Bicentenario Program. It is a project for almost $ 350 million that seeks to interconnect or improve the existing Internet connection in 4,514 educational centers.
Eliminating the technological and educational gap
The purpose is to eliminate the technological and educational gap that exists in the country, which was more evident during the Pandemic, due to the high number of students without the basic tools to receive lessons remotely. Its development is in charge of the Superintendency of Telecommunications (Sutel) and the Omar Dengo Foundation.
Sutel is in charge of 2,375 colleges and schools and plans to reach 516 educational centers by the end of this year. The remaining 1,859 will begin to connect in 2022 as soon as possible.
“We are in the process of expanding the contracts with the operators that are already part of the Fonatel projects; which allows us to be more efficient in the use of resources and move faster in meeting the goal established in the National Telecommunications Development Plan”, explained Gilbert Camacho, member of the Sutel Board.
Coopeguanacaste was the first operator to sign the extension of the contract to start this program and the previous week it already received the first connected educational center in Nicoya, which will benefit 934 students and 72 educators. In addition, the cooperative is working on connecting other schools in the coming days.
Similarly, Sutel is already working on expanding contracts with Telecable, ICE, Claro, Telefónica and the ICE, Racsa and PC-Central consortium to serve more training centers. For its part, the Omar Dengo Foundation is in charge of 2,139 educational centers awarded this week to the transnational company Ufinet, after the first contract with the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) was annulled by the Comptroller’s Office. As in any administrative process, ICE could appeal the new award to the Comptroller’s Office, and further delay the start of this part of the project.
However, in case of going ahead, it takes five days to sign the contract and start the installation of 300 educational centers per month, according to the bidding poster, which would allow Sutel’s figure to double for this year.