Luxembourg, 4 November 2020 – On the heels of a widely-successful deployment of 1,000 free community Wi-Fi zones connecting more than 700,000 underserved Colombians nationwide in 2019, local services provider INRED and SES Networks have completed the delivery of 300 additional broadband hotspots across rural areas to help close the country’s digital divide. The additional sites were deployed in record time and were part of Colombia’s Sustainable Universal Access project administered by the Colombian Ministry of Telecommunications. All 1,300 Wi-Fi zones in 424 municipalities across 20 departments are providing high-speed broadband services to nearly one million people and are enabled by SES Networks’ Signature Enterprise Solutions over the SES-14 satellite, which provides full coverage over Latin America, the Caribbean and the North Atlantic, SES announced today.
INRED and SES Networks were also selected by the Colombian Government to carry out a social connectivity initiative to benefit the people of the Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina, two Caribbean island groups northwest of mainland Colombia, where satellite-enabled connectivity is now being delivered to 12 training schools and Colombian National Navy posts.
For example, the new Wi-Fi zone installed in the village of El Consuelo has been life-changing for coffee farmer Juan Arias, whose coffee operation is located in the state of Valle del Cauca. Arias claimed the newfound connectivity has provided a new level of insight and knowledge in his field. “From my cell phone I can learn about new solutions and new ideas that will improve the quality of my product. Connectivity has had an unexpected positive impact on my earnings, since I’ve learned how to harvest a greater quantity of coffee beans in less time. It has changed the way I do business for the better.”
“SES is proud to be part of this rewarding project that is already having such a positive impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of Colombians,” said Omar Trujillo, Americas Vice President of Fixed Data Sales of SES Networks. “Through our cooperation with INRED, even the most remote rural areas of the country will enjoy and benefit from high-speed connectivity services. Our network enables this important programme to break through geographic barriers and bring the digital future to everyone throughout Colombia.”
“INRED and SES have carried out the first phases of this universal access program in record time, which opens the door to exciting new opportunities for economic growth, work, and education in what have been historically disconnected communities across Colombia,” said Jhon Jairo Ureña, CEO of INRED. “By adding 300 more community Wi-Fi hotspots, more families and businesses are able to communicate, and sell their services and products. At the same time, it is gratifying to know that more children now have access to connectivity that makes remote learning during the pandemic possible.”