Almost a third of households in Argentina do not have a fixed Internet connection, a new report has revealed.
In its latest Internet Index study published Thursday, the Argentine Internet Chamber (CABASE) said that 32 percent of homes in Argentina "do not have fixed connectivity," with a huge disparity in access nationwide.
The report, released this Thursday, specified that at the end of last year 68 percent of Argentina was covered by Internet service, a rise of 8.9 percent from the previous year.
Full coverage nationwide and "universalisation of the service," would take a further 12 years at the current rate of growth, warned CABASE, which said access had grown at an average rate of 2.8 percent over the past five years.
"Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the Internet has proven to be an essential tool for the production, work, and education of the population,” said CABASE President Ariel Graizer. “As such, it needs laws and regulations that contribute to and promote its development, encouraging private investment and prioritising the 1,200 PyMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) and cooperatives that face the challenge of bringing connection to the furthest parts of the country, connecting the 32 percent of households that still do not have fixed broadband service.”
Exploring Internet service penetration nationwide, the report exposes a significant disparity in connection levels by province and region. The nation's capital, Buenos Aires City (CABA), has a total of 108 connections for every 100 households according to CABASE, while nine provinces are less than halfway covered. Formosa ranked lowest, with just 32 percent.
In 2020, the Patagonia region registered the highest percentage of growth in terms of total fixed Internet connections, rising 14.17 percent, according to the study.
The five districts with the best connectivity are:
- CABA: 108%
- La Pampa: 82%
- San Luis: 82%
- Córdoba: 78%
- Tierra del Fuego: 76%
While the five least-connected provinces are:
- Formosa: 32%
- San Juan: 36%
- Santa Cruz: 37%
- Mendoza: 39%
- Corrientes: 42%
New Google cable
The report arrives just a day after Google announced it will construct a new international submarine cable that will connect the east coast of the United States with Las Toninas, Buenos Aires Province (the so-called ‘Fibre Optical Capital’ of Argentina due to its multitude of submarine cables), with extensions stretching to Praia Grande, Brazil and Punta del Este, Uruguay.
The cable will be the first of its type that is able to function with just a single power source, despite its gigantic length, said the tech firm.
"The arrival of Firmina will strengthen Google's infrastructure in the region, providing more resilience to the network and improving the experience of our users and customers,” said Cristian Ramos, Google's Infrastructure Development Manager. “This year the reconnaissance activities of the submarine bed will begin. We estimate that the work will be completed so that the cable is ready in 2023.”
Graizer welcomed the news, describing it as “ a very important event that will improve connectivity conditions for all Argentines.”
Lockdown and second wave: traffic skyrockets
Lockdowns and restrictions on movement due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic had a huge impact on Internet consumption in Argentine homes, producing greater demand on the infrastructure and networks of the country's internet service providers.
Strict isolation rules imposed in May in large urban centres and high-risk regions generated a surge in data traffic circulating in the National Network of CABASE’s 32 regional Internet Interconnection Points (IXP). This passed the 1,000 Gbps mark that month, 10 percent higher than the average for the month before, April.
Additionally, the average volume of traffic countrywide increased by over 50 percent between December 2019 and December 2020. Extreme demand for home-based Internet services necessitated by isolation and quarantine measures were met by investments from ISPs (Internet Service Providers) that expanded infrastructure to prepare networks for greater bandwidth consumption, said CABASE.