Plans are in motion to introduce wireless broadband coverage to the entire Brazilian capital and bring web access to the masses.
The administration of the Distrito Federal (DF) state, where Brasilia is located, and the central government have started discussing the scope of the project last month, which is mainly intended to make more public services available to citizens. The DF has R$27m worth of centrally-provided resources to carry out projects related to developing web coverage for public use.
Since Brasilia will be one of the host cities in the World Cup of 2014, the intention is that the project, a first in Brazil, will be operational in in two years’ time. Wi-fi access will be initially rolled out in one of Brasilia’s satellite cities such as Ceilandia, then made available across public areas in the capital, such as parks and squares.
In terms of the infrastructure required to make the project possible, the government is looking to take advantage of the fiber optic network owned by the central government in the city and also use resources owned by Brasilia-based organizations, such as the city’s university, Universidade de Brasilia, the local utilities firm, Companhia Energética de Brasilia, as well as the metro system.
IT Decisions says
Talks around rolling out public wi-fi in Brasilia are not recent at all. Back in 2007, Izaci Gomes, then science and technology minister for the Distrito Federal state, said that free web access would be offered to citizens by 2010, at a cost of R$13m. The project has been left on the backburner ever since.
A similar debate took place in Goiânia, the capital of neighbouring state Goiás, also around the late noughties. The city, which has a population of just over a million people, has been promised free wireless internet services back in 2007 and the project is yet to become a reality.
Brasilia has the cash and the infrastructure needed to take internet access to the masses and has access to the technical expertise needed to make it happen. The National Broadband Plan is one of the priorities of Dilma Rousseff’s government and clearly a key actor in the government’s drive to prepare certain cities for the World Cup and Olympic Games.
The new push to roll out popular wireless internet in cities such as Brasilia should not be just about the sporting events, but introducing web-based services for citizens and therefore reducing overall public spending. It should be about creating higher levels of knowledge-based, creative jobs, as well as more innovation and entrepreneurship.
Internet connectivity plays a hugely important role in economic development and the news on revitalized plans for wi-fi access in the Brazilian capital could be a sign that the new government realizes that. So hopefully, IT Decisions will be able to publish a follow-up on this story in two years’ time, using an open connection at a park somewhere in Brasilia.
Image by Guilherme Kardel licensed under Creative Commons