QCOSTARICA — Costa Rica is fourth in the world in the Online Freedom Index published by Freedom House with data collected from June 2022 to May 2023.
The study measures each country’s level of Internet freedom based on three main criteria: barriers to access, content limits, and violations of user rights.
Costa Rica obtained 21 out of 25 points in the first indicator, 33 out of 35 in the second, and 31 out of 40 in the third, for a general score of 85 out of 100.
Although Internet access in Costa Rica has constantly increased and continues to have one of the most open online environments in the world, there are still challenges to improve, especially in cybersecurity issues.
“Internet access is generally strong, although socioeconomic and geographic divisions persist. Users enjoy unlimited access to online content and their rights to free expression are largely protected by laws and courts. However, government institutions have struggled to develop resilience to disruptive cyberattacks,” the report notes.
Likewise, the worsening of online intimidation, particularly against journalists, is another negative point.
“High-profile cases of targeted online harassment, with apparent links to members of the government, have contributed to growing unrest and self-censorship among the country’s journalists,” the report added.
In Costa Rica, there are no connectivity restrictions imposed by the government, which has fostered an environment conducive to the growth of technology and communication in the country.
Around Central America, our closest neighbor Nicaragua scored 42 (partly free), while Panama, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala were not scored.
China (9), Burma (10), Iran (11), and Cuba (20) have the lowest scores of the 70 countries analyzed.
- Costa Rica has recognized Internet access as a fundamental right since 2010
- By January 2023, Internet penetration had reached 89.6%
- At that time there were 7.86 million mobile connections in the country, equivalent to 151.2% of the total population and an increase of 2.3% compared to the previous year.
Third generation (3G) and fourth generation (4G) technology for mobile networks is available to 94 and 93% of the population, respectively.
- The average fixed broadband download speed in May 2023 was 73.04 megabits per second (Mbps) and 22.67 megabits of upload
- The same period showed the average download speed of mobile connections at 28.60 Mbps and upload speed at 8.19 Mbps
- In December 2022, the government presented a National Telecommunications Development Plan to expand and improve connectivity throughout the country by boosting private investment and reducing the digital divide.
- The Ministry of Science, Innovation, Technology and Telecommunications (Micitt) plans to offer multiple 5G-based services to the public by 2024
Top Ten on the Internet Freedom Scores (see the full list here):
- Iceland, 94
- Estonia, 93
- Canada, 88
- Costa Rica, 85
- United Kingdom, 79
- Taiwan, 78
- Germany, 77
- Japan, 77
- France, 76
- United States, 76