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Venezuela Expands Telecommunications Sector

Recent figures provided by the National Telecommunications Commission (CONATEL) show that Venezuela has continuously expanded access to information and communication technologies (ICT) throughout the country in recent years.

From 2000 to late 2009, when the last survey was conducted, land-based telephone service in urban and rural Venezuela increased over 260 percent, growing from 2,535,966 subscribers in 2000 to 6,595,922 people in 2009.

According to CONATEL, mobile telephone use showed an increase of 448 percent, amounting to a growth in subscribers from 5,447,172 in 2000 to 24,405,387 in 2009. Venezuela’s population is 27.5 million, which means that mobile telephone use stood at 88.54 percent of the population.

In the same time period, internet use increased 743 percent. In 2000 there were 273,534 internet users in Venezuela, while through the end of 2009 there were 2,033,858, reported CONATEL.

The number of internet users who access the web without having a subscription at home also increased. In 2000 about 820,000 people had access to the service, while in 2009 7.5 million Venezuelans were connected to cyberspace. Nowadays, more than eight million Venezuelans have access to internet. These figures show an increase of more than 900 percent. The penetration of internet in Venezuela  increased from only 3.38 percent in 2000 to 30.71 by the end of 2009.

Additionally, there are more than 668 Infocenters in Venezuela, which offer electronic services absolutely free of charge to over three million people.

Simón Bolívar Satellite: Technology for Everyone

The creation and launching into orbit of the Simón Bolívar Satellite, which has been in space since October 2008, is another of the advances reported by CONATEL in the telecommunications sector.

Since the launching of the satellite, long-distance communications amongst Venezuelans has expanded and improved. Additionally, medical and educational services, such as tele-medicine and tele-education, have been promoted.

With an investment of more than $420 million and agreements signed bewteen Venezuela and China, the satellite facilitated the development of an entire technological platform in order to overcome all the communication shortages in rural areas.

Currently, the Simón Bolívar Satellite broadcasts official transmissions on TV and radio, provides internet connection for the Infocenters and the Bolivarian Centers of Informatics and Telematics (CIBIT), as well as distance medicine and education services (tele-medice and tele-education), especially in faraway communities.

The Venezuelan satellite has allowed for the connection of Inforcenters, indigenous communities, faraway or hard-to-access areas, seismology stations of the Venezuelan Foundation of Seismology Research, as well as improving communications in border populations and connecting the broadcasting of the state-owned media network during presidential events.

Bolivarian News Agency, Press and Communications Office of the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the U.S. / May 18, 2010

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