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Brazilian capital named worst city for Internet infrastructure improvements

A new ranking examines how easy it is to implement equipment such as fiber networks in 100 cities across the Latin American country.
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Written by Angelica Mari, Contributing Editor on

The trade body representing telecommunications providers operating in Brazil has released a ranking that reflects the difficulties companies face when rolling out Internet infrastructure in 100 cities countrywide.

The country's capital, Brasília, appears in 100th place in the yearly ranking published by the association of Brazilian telecom companies SindiTelebrasil, which takes into account a number of factors including public policy in relation to telecommunications, as well as city regulations for the rollout of mobile phone masts and fiber networks.

Other cities that appeared at the bottom of the ranking are Limeira, in the state of São Paulo, which appeared in the 99th position, and São Paulo, the capital of the homonymous state, ranked 98th.

Conversely, the highest-ranking cities are São José dos Campos, in the state of São Paulo; Uberlândia, in the state of Minas Gerais; the capital of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, as well as Cascavel and Curitiba, both located in the state of Paraná.

The trade body noted that a number of cities are ranking higher in this year's list, due to the introduction of policies aimed at reducing the time it takes to roll out masts, such as Santo André, in the state of São Paulo, as well as João Pessoa, in the state of Paraíba and Feira de Santana, in Bahia.

Brazil reached the milestone of 100,000 telephony and mobile internet masts in July 2020, according to Sinditelebrasil, up 6% since May 2019.

However, companies see that growth as less than ideal and far from what is required to promote greater digital inclusion in Brazil. Sinditelebrasil noted that 33 new 4G SIM cards are activated every minute in Brazil, but over 4,000 thousand requests for installation of antennas currently await licensing by city halls, the equivalent of 2 billion reais (US$ 364 million) in investments from sector firms.

The smartphone is the main device used to access the Internet in Brazil, with 99% of all the connected population in the country using their phones for that purpose, according to research published by the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee published in May.

However, more than half (58%) of Brazilians access the network exclusively through their mobile phones, with that percentage reaching 85% among the poorest population. Exclusive use of smartphones to access the Internet is also prevalent among the black population (65%), compared to 51% of the white population.

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