The Panamanian president, Ricardo Martinelli, has announced the launch of a new national internet project designed to bring free internet access to the country’s population in a bid to reduce the digital divide.
The first phase of the ‘Internet For All’ project will see access points installed in 500 locations across eleven of the country’s cities; Penonome, Colon, Columbus, David, Chitre, Arraijan, La Chorrera, Santiago, Sona, Pese and the capital, Panama City. The announcement comes four days after the government inked a deal with local vendor Liberty Technologies which will see the latter deploy a combination of Wi-Fi and WiMAX technologies for this free internet access. Download speeds for the connections are expected to be up to 512kbps, and a number of access centres will be set up in locations such as schools, parks and libraries. While no date has been announced for the second phase of the project, it has been revealed that it will cover cities Changuinola, Aguadulce, Meteti, Ocu and Los Santos.