The Colombian government is using the new Free Trade Agreement with the U.S. to entice American investment in its ambitious wireless Internet plan.
Colombia’s minister of information technologies and communication was in Washington Thursday to woo private investors and promote the plan, which would see the expansion of fiber-optics and a 4G network across the country — and into remote regions, the Washington Times reported.
“The Internet is a fantastic tool,” said Diego Molano Vega. “We have to work hard with investors to deploy networks in those areas.”
A fiber-optic network already under construction with funding from a Mexican investor will link computers to high-speed Internet access. The 4G network would serve smartphones, laptops and tablets.
The government wants Internet access in 90 percent of households by 2014, stretching into 700 towns currently without service. About 70 percent of the population, mostly in large urban areas, have Internet in their homes.
Molano met with Nextel International and several U.S. banks, according to the Washington Times.
The visit came a year after another Washington trip when Molano announced Colombia’s interest in American investment to build Internet infrastructure. That visit did not result in a deal with a U.S. company, but the FTA that came into effect May 15 could increase American interest.
“If American companies want to invest in Colombia, we have a talented workforce there already waiting for them,” Molano said.