Costa Rica’s telecommunications regulator, the  Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones (SUTEL) has announced the details of the national broadband network with free access to the Internet service, via “WiFi”, in public spaces.

The Programa Espacios Públicos Conectados will connect 985 wireless access points in 360 districts across the country

The Programa Espacios Públicos Conectados (Connected Public Spaces) initiative will be financed with US$65 million dollars (¢114 billion colones) from the Fondo Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (FONATEL)  – National Telecommunications Fund – to connect 985 wireless access points in 360 districts of the 82 cantons of the country, including parks, public libraries, train stations, public universities and civic centers for peace.

“The initial speed will be 100 megabytes, and its capacity will increase 50 megabytes every year until reaching 300 megabytes in the fifth year,” said Humberto Pineda, Director of FONATEL

“This is the most ambitious Telecommunications project developed by the SUTEL, as administrator of FONATEL. We are sure that it will be an opportunity for economic and social growth for more than 4 million people benefited by the project,” explained Engineer Gilbert Camacho Mora, president of the SUTEL.

Users will be able to connect at speeds of 5 Mbps in the first year, 8 Mbps in the second, 10 Mbps in the third, 12 Mbps in the fourth, rising to 15 Mbps after 5 years.

Bids for tenders are open until 26 December, with the 10-year contracts due to be signed within the following 45 days, said SUTEL in a statement.

“The winning bidders will have a maximum of 24 months to put into operation each of the 515 zones chosen under criteria of population density, educational and cultural interest, “said the SUTEL.