Argentina launches national broadband, digital TV programme
Argentina's president, Cristina Kirchner, has launched the 'Argentina Conectada' plan to bring broadband internet access and free-to-air digital TV throughout the country, writes La Nacion. The project will require around USD 2.02 billion of government investment. A 26,000 km backbone will be deployed by state-owned company Arsat and is intended to complement existing networks operated by the private sector by reaching areas where they do not expect to achieve a return on investment. At the programme's presentation, the president inaugurated the first five of twenty-seven digital TV antennas, located in Buenos Aires province and Chaco. The remainder are due to be up and running by the middle of next year, boosting coverage to 75 percent of the population. Satellite TV will be used to reach the remaining 25 percent. The country's planning minister, Julio de Vido, said that the first 10,000 km of fibre to be deployed by Arsat will target the most remote parts of the country. Spanish newspaper Efe reports that Arsat could become a direct competitor to Telefonica and Telecom Italia-controlledTelecom Argentina, the two biggest fixed-line operators in the country.