Telefonica and Facebook have joined forces to launch an open access wholesale rural mobile infrastructure operator, Internet para Todos (IpT) Peru, together with IDB Invest (Inter-American Investment Corporation) and CAF (Development Bank of Latin America). The project aims to bring faster mobile Internet to rural markets and consequently bridge the digital divide in Latin America.
An estimated 20 percent of the Latin American population, which is around 100 million people, lack sufficient access to mobile broadband and therefore are deprived of enjoying the benefits offered by the digital economy.
“Our new approach will leverage our network as a service to bridge the digital divide as fast as possible while providing any mobile network operator access to rural markets,” said Teresa Gomes, Managing director of Internet para Todos. “Our goal now is to launch and scale the project in Peru and prove what’s possible to the rest of Latin America and the world.”
Telefónica del Peru is allowing IpT Peru to take advantage of and use its existing rural business. Bernardo Quinn, CEO of Hispam South at Telefónica, stated: “At Telefónica, we think that people are the ones who give meaning to technology and not vice versa. Internet para Todos is an example of how Telefónica is addressing new challenges to the sector and how it takes advantage of opportunities to promote open models of collaboration with other partners.”
Other companies in the project – Facebook, IDB Invest and CAF – are investing in IpT Peru, with the purpose of upgrading existing voice services and building new sites to deliver fast mobile Internet coverage as a wholesale Network-as-a-Service model (NaaS). IpT Peru will provide a useful example of how new business models can transform infrastructure into a NaaS by embracing open access principles and cooperation, combined with new technologies and the right policies.
Dan Rabinovitsj, Facebook’s vice president of connectivity, added: “Delivering scalable, efficient and high-quality connectivity to rural communities is key to closing the digital divide. Through Internet Para Todos in Peru, we’re investing in a new way of expanding rural access to mobile broadband, paving the way for the new approaches that the industry needs in order to ensure everyone has access to the benefits of the internet.”