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Brazilian government to invest $4bn in broadband expansion

Projects focused on the development of high-speed Internet access across the country must be completed by December 2016.
Written by Angelica Mari, Contributing Writer

The Brazilian government has committed to invest R$15bn ($3.97bn) in the creation and improvement of broadband projects.

The resources will be distributed as tax relief across the 1167 projects submitted by companies as part of a tendering process coordinated by the Ministry of Communications as part of the Special Taxation Regime of the National Broadband Program, a scheme created to stimulate the deployment and expansion of the Brazilian broadband network.

Some 3.699 Brazilian cities will benefit from the projects, but the state of São Paulo attracted R$4.6bn ($1.2bn) of the investment total, followed by the two other states located in the wealthy southeast region of Brazil: Minas Gerais, with R$1.8bn ($477,000) of investments and Rio de Janeiro, with R$965.000 ($256.025).

In terms of specific project areas, about 80 percent of investments will go towards access networks, which connect users to their immediate service provider. The remainder will mostly fund projects related to the equipment and fibers handling the physical transport of signals, commonly referred to as transport networks.

The broadband infrastructure projects approved by the Ministry of Communications have a completion deadline of December 2016.

Ongoing efforts

Earlier this year, the Brazilian government had promised a revamped national broadband plan, with more government investment and the creation of "synergies" between the public and private sectorto deliver improved Internet access services across the country.

Despite the recession Brazil is currently experiencing, large communications projects such as the development of the country's broadband infrastructure and the construction of the country's own satellite have been spared from the budget cuts that have been announced over recent months.

Research suggests that not even half of all Brazilian households have access to broadband, the main obstacle being the cost of high-speed Internet access services.

But providing cheaper and faster broadband services is a priority for Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, who set that goal as part of her campaign pledges, adding that broadening the fiber optic infrastructure of the country was a cornerstone of that plan.

Earlier this year, the Communications minister Maximiliano Martinhão disclosed government plans to roll out fiber optic technology across at least 90 percent of the country. Meanwhile, Google is backing the construction of a massive submarine fiber optic cable linking Brazil to the United States, while another cable will link Brazil to Africa and a third undersea link will connect the country with Europe.

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