The president acknowledged on Monday that he has problems meeting his goal of bringing connectivity to remote areas through CFE Telecomunicaciones and Internet para Todos.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador acknowledged on Monday that he is having problems fulfilling his commitment to bring connectivity to remote areas through his company CFE Telecomunicaciones e Internet para Todos, due to the lack of satellites to provide internet to those sites.
“It is not a problem of lack of resources, it is basically a technological issue,” said the president during his morning conference. “Although it may seem incredible, there are no satellites to achieve this communication over the Internet, there is still no technological development that allows satellites to illuminate the entire national territory.”
CFE Telecomunicaciones was created by the government in 2019 with the aim of closing the digital divide in the country, but almost three years after its creation, the company has lacked transparency about the development of the project and is currently without a general director since the beginning. death of Raymundo Artis Espriú in June 2021.
According to López Obrador, in Mexico, there are about 300,000 locations scattered in small communities, so it is planned to use satellites to connect these areas due to the complexity of reaching these sites.
“We are seeing with the companies that are working, doing research and already putting into practice the use of small satellites for this purpose. What I am proposing to you also happens in the United States, which does not have the possibility of communicating throughout the territory of that great nation,” López Obrador commented.
The president’s plan to bring connectivity to the country is in line with what Rogelio Jiménez Pons, undersecretary of the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation Infrastructure (SICT), commented in April that the future of connections in Mexico will be through systems satellite
Fiber optic connectivity
In addition to the use of satellites, López Obrador assured that to close the digital divide he will also use fiber optics. He recalled that CFE Telecomunicaciones is currently developing the fiber lighting project but has faced the obstacle of the last mile, that is, the last section that is the one that connects with homes.
In 2019, the CFE launched a tender for the Red Eléctrica Inteligente (REI) project, whose value amounted to 797 million pesos, to supply the state-owned fiber optic company to advance the country’s digital connectivity. Prysmian Group won the project and in February assured Expansión that at the beginning of 2022 it would finish supplying the 15,000 kilometers of fiber optic cables for the REI connectivity project.
The president highlighted that CFE Telecomunicaciones has also begun the installation of antennas, without specifying the number, to bring connectivity to remote areas. And he assured that in order to achieve his objective of closing the digital divide in the country, he works together with companies such as Telcel, AT&T and Telefónica, as well as with Altán Redes with whom he has an agreement to use their infrastructure to bring connectivity to sites with less than 5 thousand inhabitants.
However, Altán is currently in bankruptcy due to the lack of liquidity to meet its obligations with its more than 70 creditors.
Finally, the president assured that he will convene those responsible for the CFE Telecommunications and Internet for All project in the morning to give more details on the progress of connectivity.
According to the National Survey on the Availability and Use of Information Technologies in Households (ENDUTIH) of the Inegi, the number of users with Internet access in Mexico reached 84.1 million, which represents that 28% of the population six years and older did not connect to the network.
In addition, in 2020, a year marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, 78.3% of the urban population is an Internet user, while in rural areas the population with access to connectivity is 50.4%, which means that the digital divide still persists.
“I can see how difficult it is to be able to communicate (to remote areas) with the internet (…). We are going to achieve it because we still have time left, two years, four months,” López Obrador said.