The project Espacios Públicos Conectados aims to install free wireless Wi-Fi  "hotspots" in parks and town squares of 72 comminuties across the country in the next five yars. Photo for illustrative purposes
The project Espacios Públicos Conectados aims to install free wireless Wi-Fi “hotspots” in parks and town squares of 72 comminuties across the country in the next five yars. Photo for illustrative purposes

(QCOSTARICA) The Espacios Públicos Conectados (Public Spaces Online) project that seeks to bring free wireless internet access or “hotspots to residents of 72 cantones (counties) across the country will begin next year.

Between 2017 and 2022, some US$32 million dollars from the National Telecommunications Fund (Fondo Nacional de Telecomunicaciones – Fonatel) will be invested in the project, implemented in stages.

The first phase of the projet will reach 40 cantons, and the remaining sites in the second phase, when 72 of 192 cantones in the country will Wi-Fi wireless networks in main parks and town squares.

“There are some municipalities that are far more advanced than others, because they have more resources, the Fonatel is looking to close the digital divide in the areas where it is needed. We do not say that we will not support most of the municipalities, but there is a prioritization and focus on those with greater digital divide,” said Humberto Pineda, director of Fonatel.

Although the bidding has not gone to public tender, three operators have expressed interest in the project: Tigo, Movistar and Claro.

Norman Chaves, manager of corporate affairs at Tigo said, “our suggestions were merely technical, mainly the way the network will be used, equipment and service levels”.

District ranking, population density, tourist interest and education are factors in determine the priority in which cantons will get connected.

The following is an alphabetical order of the 72 cantones to have hotspots within the next five years:

1. Abangares

2. Acosta

3. Aguirre

4. Alajuela

5. Alvarado

6. Aserrí

7. Atenas

8. Bagaces

9. Barva

10. Belén

11. Buenos Aires

12. Cañas

13. Carrillo

14. Cartago

15. Corredores

16. Coto Brus

17. Curridabat

18. Desamparados

19. Dota

20. El Guarco

21. Esparza

22. Garabito

23. Golfito

24. Grecia

25. Guácimo

26. Guatuso

27. Heredia

28. Hojancha

29. Jiménez

30. La Cruz

31. León Cortés Castro

32. Liberia

33. Limón

34. Los Chiles

35. Matina

36. Montes de Oca

37. Montes de Oro

38. Mora

39. Nandayure

40. Naranjo

41. Nicoya

42. Oreamuno

43. Orotina

44. Osa

45. Palmares

46. Paraíso

47. Parrita

48. Pérez Zeledón

49. Poás

50. Pococí

51. Puntarenas

52. Puriscal

53. San Carlos

54. San José

55. San Mateo

56. San Pablo

57. San Ramón

58. Santa Ana

59. Santa Bárbara

60. Santa Cruz

61. Santo Domingo

62. Sarapiquí

63. Siquirres

64. Talamanca

65. Tarrazú

66. Tibás

67. Tilarán

68. Turrialba

69. Turrubares

70. Upala

71. Valverde Vega

72. Zarcero