President Juan Manuel Santos on Monday announced that the Council on National Economic and Social Policy (Conpes) approved an additional $521 million in order to complete broadband connection for all 32 departments and reach the country’s most remote regions.
In addition, the government will install 4,200 live digital kiosks in rural zones aimed at reducing the digital gap. The head of state stressed the financial effort involved in such a proposal, adding that the outlay was well worth the benefit of Colombia connecting as a nation.
“It is a costly endeavor, a huge financial effort,” said Santos. “It is an investment close to a billon pesos, but that is well worth it because we are bringing the technology to each and every municipality in the country.”
“With today’s decision, all municipalities in the country are going to be connected with fiber optic technology. No municipality will be exempt from this,” added the head of state.
Santos also stated that the decision will have a positive impact on education throughout the country’s most remote regions.
“I think it is a very effective way to bring technology to the poorest sections of our society and therefore better access to education, medicine and information in general,” said Santos. “This has a huge social impact in our fight against poverty.
The head of state added that the scheme will be complemented by the delivery of more than two million computers and tablets across the country, as well as the establishment of five centers for technology transfer and innovation in Bogota , Envigado , Cartagena , Cali and Villavicencio .
“There are five centers in five regions of the country. This will enable teachers to train, enable users to develop software, everything that has to do with the development of applications to be used on the highways that we are building the length and breadth of the national territory,” said Santos.
The government announced in August that Conpes had approved a $24.5 billion public infrastructure initiative, known as “4G” by the government.
The goal, as stated on the project’s website, is to “improve connectivity between the principle centers of production and exportation to make [Colombia] a more competitive country and overcome the historical drag in transport infrastructure.”
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