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De Vido Says Argentina to Get Free WiFi Hotspots

August 23rd, 2010 | Categoría: Politics, Technology

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Argentine Planning Minister Julio De Vido said Monday that the government will install free WiFi in public places around in the country within four months.

The news comes just days after De Vido announced that the government would give Fibertel, one of the country’s leading broadband providers, 90 days to shut down.

Critics will likely interpret the WiFi announcement as a last minute move designed to win favor amid what seems to be a massive rejection of the plan to kill Fibertel.

If installing free WiFi hotspots around the country were such a good idea, some may ask, why is the government announcing this now, just days after it said it would kill Fibertel?

People love free WiFi. But it’s unclear if the news will reduce concern about the decision to kill Fibertel. De Vido sought to assuage that concern in a radio interview.

“People shouldn’t be worried at all about this,” De Vido said. “There are 389 Internet providers around the country. People aren’t going to have any problems getting a better service and even for less money. There are an infinity of providers that are able to offer this service. I absolutely guarantee that not one customer will end up without service. We’re not going to cut anyone’s service off.”

De Vido himself was a Fibertel customer until a few days ago, when the newspaper Clarin published the personal email address of his wife. Fibertel and Clarin are both owned by the multimedia conglomerate Grupo Clarin.

“At no time will customers have to suffer a traumatic end to their service,” De Vido said, acknowledging that it took him “an entire afternoon” to let contacts know that he had changed his personal Fibertel email address.

“We’re going to work very hard in the next 120 days to install WiFi around the country,” De Vido said. “Everybody is going to be able to take their notebooks to plazas and other areas to do their work. We’re going to have enormous spaces with free Internet, first in big cities and later in smaller towns.”

De Vido said Fibertel has to be shut down because it is illegally operating without an appropriate license. An experienced corporate attorney told The Argentine Post, however, that, Grupo Clarin will probably not have to stop offering Internet through Fibertel.

The battle over Fibertel will end up in court and Clarin will likely win, the attorney said.

Whatever the case, here’s hoping that those free WiFi hotspots do show up at some point.

Grupo Clarin had previously opposed plans by the City of Buenos Aires government to install WiFi around the city.

To listen to the interview, in Spanish, click here (you’ll need Internet Explorer)

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6 Comments

DanNo Gravatar says:

Everyone’s going to be out working on their laptops in the plazas? Amazing world that the government here lives in where everyone has laptops and/or wants to go work outside…. Of course, this could give them an excuse to expand the PFA to provide security at all those plazas, since they’ll instantly become targets for all the motochorros….

allegraNo Gravatar says:

“government will install free WiFi in public places around in the country within four months”……What about those of us who have PC’s? Even if I was to purchase a notebook, I certainly wouldn’t sit at a plaza to do my work. Why the rush to install free WiFi in public places if they claim there are “389 internet providers around the country”. I am banking on the Grupo Clarin to take the battle to court and delay, delay, delay…….

MarcNo Gravatar says:

I love how he tosses out that there are 389 Internet providers around the country as if there are numerous providers to choose from. Telefonica and Telecom pretty much own all of the fiber around the country, if I’m not mistaken. Telefonica in the South and Telecom in the North. There are no third-party Level 3 Communications-type companies here to the best of my knowledge. Either you go with Telefonica or Telecom or choose a last mile ISP who rides on their lines. Sure there is wifi through mobile carriers like Claro but I believe the long distance stuff still goes through the big carriers’ fiber. I used to have an account with an affiliate of UOL that ran through Telefonica’s lines. The connection and service was horrible and a friend who worked for them said a person from corporate made it clear that they really don’t care. I know Fibertel has its own service issues but I would love to see them lay down some fiber to compete with the monopolies of Telefonica and Telecom.

MarissaNo Gravatar says:

Recently I have been doing some resercha about internet providers because in the company where I work we want to change the internet service. Not only I found very few providers, but also most of them doesnt provide service in the area where we are located, taht is Villa Crespo. Cant imagine what will happen in areas a bit more distant in the city. This goverment has always a way to try covering the mistakes they make. Like what happened to the Campo protest and the Ley de medios K Im also pretty sure that they will have to give several steps back in this matter with Fibertel. Besides of that, this announcement sounds to me very ridiculus. First of all Im sure there are better ways of invest those fund in the city, second the society of Argentina is not ready to have a full use of that service.
xsdsdeveryone can work from home and besides of that if people is afraid of using their cellphone on

Anonymous says:

I’m gonna take my $2000 laptop outside— into a plaza — in Capital. What are these crooks smokin’?

TimNo Gravatar says:

Hmm, yea, in 120 days there will be free wifi everywhere in Buenos Aires. And who will pay for it?

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