The school year began for Costa Rican children on February 10th. This year internet connection has been provided to 96% of the country’s schools. To achieve this, the Ministry of Public Education partnered with internet providers to improve existing connectivity and establish new connections in previously isolated rural areas.
In April 2013, the government of Costa Rica announced its plan to provide internet access to more than 4,000 of the country’s public schools. Computers with internet access will provide teachers and students with new opportunities and resources not previously available to them.
With the growing availability of internet services, students will be afforded the opportunity to access new educational materials, learn computer skills and familiarize themselves with the use of technology. Additionally, the internet will provide unprecedented access to online educational resources that give teachers’ access to teaching materials and training opportunities.
Six different internet technologies have been used throughout Costa Rica to successfully provide 4,320 public schools with online access. The most common technologies utilized are broadband access through ADSL technology and 3G mobile network access from several telecommunication companies including the National Fund Telecommunications and Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad.
Isolated areas of the country often have few if any choices for wireless providers. In many situations, the only available option is 3G wireless broadband. According to the Superintendent of Telecommunications, the government has been working with several telecommunications firms to improve this situation and provide both telephone lines and internet services to rural areas that have been waiting years for these services.
In December 2013, the government announced that the Telefónica and Claro communications companies had won government contracts to install broadband in isolated areas of north Costa Rica. This project alone will benefit more than 40,000 students in 500 schools, costing the National Telecommunications Fund $13.8 million.
Over recent years, Costa Rica has witnessed extreme growth in both internet usage and the number of companies offering wireless communications. In 2010, 24% of the population had internet connections. By 2012 that number had risen to 47% (2 million people) and again in 2013 it increased to more than 50% as a result of internet connections being increasingly provided to remote rural locations.
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