The Chilean government, former fixed line incumbent Entel and Swedish equipment vendor Ericsson have announced a plan to provide three million people in remote rural Chile with mobile broadband and mobile telephony by the end of 2011. The first stage of the project - Rural Internet Network: All Chile Communicated - was completed in September this year, by which time 1.7 million people had been connected. In 2009 Entel and Ericsson won a USD45 million public contract from the government to provide broadband access to between 70% and 90% of the rural population. The two-year end-to-end project includes deployment of core and radio access networks for both 2G and 3G platforms. Ericsson is building, integrating and activating 2G and 3G base stations at about 1,500 rural locations.
Nicolas Brancoli, President of Ericsson Chile, said: ‘This project marks a new milestone in public-private partnerships in Latin America because we're collaborating in the financing and the development of this connectivity plan. Research shows that a 10% increase in mobile penetration in developing countries leads to a 1.2% increase in gross domestic product. We hope this project will reduce the digital divide and help increase social and economic empowerment in Chile's developing regions.’