Ecuador to bridge digital divide with low-cost internet access
QUITO, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno on Wednesday launched a program to bring affordable Internet access to the country's poorer rural communities.
Moreno, accompanied by his Telecommunications Minister Andres Michelena, kicked off the program, called "Internet For Everyone," in Rumipamba parish, in the canton of Ruminahui, located in a valley near the capital Quito.
"We are going to provide pretty cheap internet -- at a fourth or fifth of the price -- to farmers and residents of rural areas," said Moreno.
"This is really a transcendental day for the country, essentially for those who produce, who study, for everyone," added Moreno.
Communities without online access are cut off from the rest of the world, which is why his government aims to guarantee internet service at economical rates, he said.
The program aims to initially provide 214 rural parishes with fixed and mobile internet via one state-run and two private telecommunications companies.
According to Michelena, four out of 10 Ecuadorian households are connected to the internet, or 37 percent, and one out of 10 households (11 percent) has either a desktop computer or mobile device.
Ecuador is also among the top 10 countries in Latin America with the costliest connection rates, at No. 9, said Michelena, adding "connectivity is inclusion."