World Economy

Latam Lagging in ICT Sustainable Development Goal

Latam Lagging in ICT  Sustainable Development GoalLatam Lagging in ICT  Sustainable Development Goal

The Sustainable Development Goals will include targets for information and communication technologies, such as strengthening the Internet. And Latin America will be behind from the start in aspects that are key to increasing its educational and medical uses, bolster security and expand bandwidth.

That lag is especially visible in the construction of Internet exchange points and the upgrade of the Internet protocol from IP version 4 to IP version 6, IPS reported.

In the first case, the construction of neutral IXPs allows faster handling of greater data flows, because they circulate in the national territory without the need for access outside the country. This reduces costs and improves the quality of service.

And IPv6 provides virtually infinite address space, better security, mobile computing, better quality service, and an improved design for real-time multimedia traffic. That represents enormous potential for social applications in areas like health and education.

But Lacier Dias, a professor with the Brazilian consultancy VLSM, said the advances made in his country have fallen short.

“Investment and infrastructure are lacking,” he told IPS. “It’s a challenge to expand it to the entire country, because of the size of the territory and the distance. Another challenge is offering broadband to all users.”

  Brazil Leads in IXPs

In the region, Brazil has the highest number of IXPs: 31, according to the 2014 study “Expansion of regional infrastructure for the interconnection of Internet traffic in Latin America”, drawn up by the Corporacion Andina de Fomento, a regional development bank.

The progress made in Brazil is due to a public policy that foments this infrastructure, combined with an effective multisectoral agency, the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee, which administers the country’s network with the participation of the government, companies, academia and civil society.

In Argentina, the first IXP was opened in 1998 and 11 now operate in five provinces. They connect more than 80 network operators through a hub in Buenos Aires. Total traffic is over eight GB per second.

The hub is managed by the Argentine Chamber of Databases and Online Services, which represents Internet, telephony and online content providers.

Mexico opened its only IXP in 2014, administered by the Consortium for Internet Traffic Exchange, made up of the University Corporation for Internet Development and Internet service providers.

The users of these sites include Internet providers, educational systems and state governments.

  Internet Use

In Latin America, unlike in Europe, regional IXPs do not yet operate to aggregate traffic between countries.

According to the “State of broadband in Latin America and the Caribbean 2015” report launched in July by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, nearly half of the region’s population uses Internet.

Chile, Argentina and Uruguay, in that order, are the countries with the highest proportion of Internet users, while Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua have the lowest, in a region marked by an enormous gap in access between rural and urban areas.

With respect to broadband, or high-speed Internet access according to US Federal Communications Commission standards, the ECLAC study indicates that Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and Mexico report the largest number of connections over 10 MB per second, while Peru, Costa Rica, Venezuela and Bolivia have the smallest number.

Meanwhile, the highest level of consumption of mobile broadband devices is found in Costa Rica, Brazil, Uruguay and Venezuela, and the lowest in Paraguay, Guatemala, Peru and Nicaragua. Paraguay is now opening its first IXP.

Only 30% of the content consumed in Latin America is produced in one of the countries in the region. Of the 100 most popular sites in Latin America, only 26 were created in the region, although consumption of cyber traffic per user rose 62% in the last few years, higher than the global increase.

In the countries of Latin America, $150 billion have been invested in telecoms in the past seven years, but another $400 billion are needed over the next seven years to close the digital gap.

Last year, Brazil had nearly 54% of the assigned regional space; Mexico 10%; Argentina 10%; Chile nearly 6%; and Colombia nearly 4%, according to the Latin American and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry.

In the IPv6 protocol, Brazil leads the list, with 70%, followed by Argentina with 9%; Colombia 3%; Chile 2.5%; and Mexico 2.3%.

“With IPv6 all Internet users can be covered with third generation mobile networks. As of this year, Brazil is only buying technological equipment that supports IPv6,” said Dias of Brazil.

The Union of South American Nations, which brings together 12 countries, is building a ring of more than 10,000 km of fiber optic to link the members of the bloc.