Published by Nearshore Americas 

Nicaragua unveiled a plan to roll out high-speed optical fiber Internet connections to its remote and underdeveloped Caribbean Coast.

The 115 KM fiber network will benefit nearly 200,000 people in the coastal region, giving faster internet access to healthcare centers as well as schools.

The program, mainly funded by the World Bank, will also pave the way for local authorities to launch mobile digital classrooms for children in rural communities.

The rollout will be carried out by the country’s power transmission firm Enatrel, with the government contributing around US$1.4 million.

The fiber network will be connected to the submarine cables crisscrossing the Caribbean region.

“Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast is an area with one of the lowest Internet penetration rates and one of the highest poverty rates in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC),” said the World Bank.

Broadband services are extremely expensive in these area of Nicaragua, largely due to lack of competition. Claro, a subsidiary of Mexican telecom giant America Movil, has almost monopolized the telecom sector. Nearly 90% of the country’s fixed-line telecom is controlled by Claro, with Tigo, a subsidiary of Millicom, controlling the rest.

Tigo replaced Movistar in 2019 when Millicom acquired Telefonica’s operations in the Central American country.

Both carriers are busy today building wireless networks in urban areas, as the demand for mobile services is far larger than for fixed-line.