Fernandez called access to information “a universal right” and said the plan will prove to be a “historic milestone” like the creation of public television here was 59 years ago.
The announcement is also part of a plan by the government to provide free, nationwide open-air HDTV signals to households around the country, even in areas that have never had access to cable TV or other broadcast signals.
The HDTV network will have a total of 16 channels, including one dedicated to showing Argentine films, Fernández said.
The broadband plan also calls for free WiFi hotspots in plazas and other public places around the county, as well as the creation of cyber libraries.
It’s unclear exactly how the new fiber-optic network will be built, though Fernández said it will be partly a private and public sector project. It’s also unclear what kind of download speeds the network will offer.
The program is scheduled to be fully up and running within three years, though readers may note that some previously appealing announcements have failed to deliver within the announced time frames.
In January 2009 the government said it would scrap the capital city’s anachronistic public transportation payment system and replace it with a single “electronic” card system to allow people to prepay for bus, subway and train trips.
Fernández promised to have the so-called SUBE system running within 90 days. It’s now about 22 months later and the system has yet to be implemented as announced.
In separate but related news, the Internet service provider Fibertel came out with a promotion Saturday offering to double the download speed of its 3-Megabit customers to 6 Megabits.
*I signed up for the offer and found that my download speed had actually tripled to more than 9Mbps, at least temporarily, making me a very happy camper. My videochats with friends and family in the U.S. are now sharper than before. Upload speeds are also faster.