By Taos Turner @taos on Twitter
Argentina’s leading cable TV provider, Cablevisión, plans to launch a new ultra-fast Internet service in the first half of 2011.
The plan, which the company confirmed late Wednesday, will offer customers of its Fibertel Internet service download speeds that are up to 10 times faster than what they are currently.
Price information is not yet available.
The service will make it much easier to download or stream HD video and engage in hi-resolution video conferences.
Last year Fibertel lept ahead of its competition by offering to double its standard 3 megabit service to 6 megabits, which began bringing Argentina’s comparatively slow broadband speeds inline with those offered in developed countries.
In my case, at least, the faster 6M service has worked as advertised. My video conferences with friends and family abroad are smoother and more reliable.
Cablevisión, owned by the multimedia giant Grupo Clarín, has been under attack from the government, which has accused it of operating without a proper broadband license.
The company has said that its license is perfectly legal and that the government is simply using the license issue as an excuse to attack the media company and curb freedom of the press in Argentina.
Last year Planning Minister Julio De Vido gave Fibertel 90 days to shut down its service, telling customers they would have to migrate en masse to another broadband provider.
But that period passed and, as far anyone can tell, Fibertel is still alive and well.
Cablevisión has about 3.1 million customers (households) while Fibertel has 1.1 million clients, according to Grupo Clarin’s latest quarterly report.
The government did not follow through on its threat, presumably, in part, because doing so would have created a logistical nightmare for both consumers and Argentina’s telecommunications industry, which was ill-prepared to absorb so many new customers at once.
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Asia dominates the world in terms of rapid Internet speeds, with South Korea and Japan blazing the trail.