|Does Costa Rica have phone and Internet service?|
The only jurisdiction for all telecommunication services is the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), a 100% government-owned business. For an emerging nation this provider monopoly has installed a very good phone network.
Growth rates for landline were quite high during the 90s. The number of connections increased from 478 900 in 1995 to 802 600 at present. Possibly because of cross-subsidies, at $0.03 per local call, Costa Rica has lower prices than most Latin American countries. Furthermore, any call within the country counts as a local call.
The situation regarding cell phones is different. Costa Rica has a position in the lower middle compared to other Latin American countries. It is still not easy to get a new cell phone number without getting on a waiting list. Despite this situation, monthly costs are still the lowest in all Latin America.
Regarding the Internet, Costa Rica is a pioneer in Central America. The first connection to international networks was established by Costa Rican University (Universidad de Costa Rica, UCR) in 1990.
In Costa Rica, development of the Internet was dynamic at first. Nevertheless there is still significant clumsiness in development of further infrastructure.
Because of the pressure imposed on provider ICE with RACSA as ISP, since 2005 this monopoly has offered a broadband ADSL flat rate for private persons. To apply for ADSL flat rate with ICE you need a lot of patience. Fulfillment can take several weeks (up to 6). In addition, AMNET-Cable provides a broadband flat rate besides its regular cable TV products. As this company is 100% private and simply uses the infrastructure of RACSA and puts its service on top, access to cable TV and the Internet is accomplished in a few days. Since 2010 new ICE UMTS-Service (G3) is offered for mobile broadband Internet, called Kölbi. Because of this service it is now also possible to get connected to broadband Internet in remote areas. Landlines are almost 100% covered in Costa Rica. Only for ADSL access is it necessary to know beforehand whether a particular region is covered.
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