IDB lends $ 45 million to strengthen wireless broadband infrastructure

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has loaned US $ 45 million to QMC Telecom, bolstering the operator’s plan to strengthen wireless broadband infrastructure in Mexico, Colombia and Peru.

Deepening broadband penetration is the need of the hour in Latin America, as the region has seen unprecedented demand for internet services since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic earlier in 2020. Broadband wireless has significant value for global service companies looking to improve broadband. performance in home work environments.

QMC Telecom’s plans will not only strengthen the internet infrastructure in the three countries, but will also significantly lower broadband prices.

Social distancing and lockdown measures have made broadband connectivity essential for most social and economic activities, including work, education and healthcare, the IDB said in a press release.

Only 57.1% of Peruvians had access to the internet in 2019, while 65.01% of the Colombian population could connect. Mexico leads the way for Internet access among the three countries with 70.1% of the population able to use the Internet. Broadband wireless internet penetration, however, is likely to be much lower, as overall internet access statistics take into account access through smart phones, which are readily available in the region. .

Various institutions and agencies have expressed concern about the lack of Internet access and its impact on children’s learning. During the pandemic, when millions of children were sent home and expected them to learn online, although those in rural areas could not.

Sylvia Schmelkes, university vice-chancellor at Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico, told MIT News that the pandemic has exacerbated access to learning between strata of Mexican society and those without access to all three channels (internet, television and radio) for the country Aprende En Casa initiative.

QMC Telecom is already working across the region designing and building distributed antenna systems, small cells to improve connectivity, and cell phone towers.

With the new funding in hand, the operator will begin building new telecommunications towers, distributed antenna systems and street-level solutions, helping the three countries prepare to auction 5G spectra.

In Colombia, the IBD loan will help QMC Telecom roll out the recently auctioned 700 MHz spectrum nationwide, where it will help bring access to communities that previously lacked cellular coverage.

Ricardo Zubieta, chief financial officer of QMC, said the partnership with the IDB will promote economic growth, enable connectivity and reduce the digital divide in Latin America.

“The pandemic has highlighted the importance of wireless communications and connectivity which has become an essential mission in today’s world,” said Gema Sacristán, Director of Investments at IDB Invest.

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