A new agreement will see the expansion of Brazil’s public Wi-Fi hotspot network to improve the delivery of public services in places without Internet connectivity.
Under the technical cooperation agreements signed between the Banco do Brasil Foundation and the Brazilian Support Service for Micro and Small Enterprises (SEBRAE) with the Ministry of Communications, some 1,000 sites across the country will benefit from around 500 new points. Wi-Fi access that will be implemented by 2022.
The current free Wi-Fi network with satellite Internet consists of more than 14,000 wireless access points in 3,000 Brazilian municipalities, mainly located in the north and northeast of Brazil. Some 11,000 schools use the hotspots, as well as 1,000 health facilities and 475 indigenous communities.
During the event where the partnership was announced on Tuesday (14), the Minister of Communication, Fabio Faria, noted that 8.5 million citizens benefit from existing initiatives around the issue of connectivity, but that he “still a lot to do”, since 40 million citizens still do not have access to the Internet.
In addition to internet connectivity, the new agreement includes the provision of online content related to education and culture, including access to digital art exhibitions.
Banco do Brasil, one of the country’s largest financial services institutions, said deployment is an important instrument to accelerate financial inclusion of communities through digital channels.
“We get closer to our future customers, promote digital inclusion for those who did not have access to it and value the social transformation of people,” said Fausto Ribeiro, president of Banco do Brasil.
The initiative is also seen as a way to boost the digital inclusion of entrepreneurs in remote areas of Brazil. “We are together in this challenge of bringing the Internet and communications to the most remote places of the country. It is a project that has a lot of synergy with our methodology, which digitally accelerates micro and small businesses,” noted the President of SEBRAE, Carlos Melles.
According to a report by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, digital exclusion in Brazil is due to factors such as the lack of technical knowledge to access the web, as well as the high price of internet services.
In addition, the lack of availability of services – especially in the north of the country, where the Amazon region is located – was also among the reasons given for not using the web.