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ICE Incapable of Satisfying the Internet Needs of Costa Rica

September 14th, 2007

Wow! Whatta surprise, huh? That was one of the headlines in yesterday’s La Nacion. It seems that once again, our friendly local communications monopoly has been caught totally unawares by the now 15 year old Internet revolution. Apparently, someone in the “strategic planning group” felt that the unprecedented growth of the Internet world-wide simply was not going to affect little old Costa Rica. According to this article, some 36 localities are affected to the point where new connections are very limited.

Many locations are important population centers like parts of Curridabat, Tibás, Heredia and Cartago. S anto Domingo de Heredia had just FIVE connections remaining.

Outside the Central Valley, there are the same issues in Ciudad Quesada (San Carlos), Liberia, Nicoya, Santa Cruz and Jacó. In several areas, NO connections remain, and people are now faced with a waiting list similar to the ever-popular bi-annual cell phone fiasco. ICE in Tibás states there are no services because the central station is saturated and because there are modems no available. HUH? There simply are no more connections in those central offices AND even if there were, there are no routers!

So now ICE has to go to the Contraloría (the bean counters for the Republic) and ask for money to expand the system that should have been expanded 4-5 years ago but was not because they did not ask for the money nor make a case for expanding these services that are strategically critical to Costa Rica and its development.

Seems like every day or so, we have ICE telling us “NO TLC” (free trade agreement) and ICE employees marching in parades to demonstrate that “Costa Rica don’t need no Stinking TLC”. The parade was probably lead by the guy who heads strategic planning.

So tell me if I am wrong here. If YOU were a monopoly charged with providing electricty and communications services to this country, and you did not want foreign competition to come in and clean your clock, would it not make sense to provide the best available services to those voters who will soon decide the fate of the TLC?

But no… I guess not!

Instead we have graft, lousy or non-existent cell phone service and no cell phone lines, rolling electrical blackouts affecting the entire country, and (now) no capacity to expand those Internet service that affect world wide communications and the growth and development of this nation!

I have stayed out of this TLC thing as 1. I do not fully understand all of its implications for Costa Rica and 2. I frankly think ALL foreigners, legal or not, are guests and truly have no right to stick their noses in these issues unless they are actually citizens and must (by law).

That said, I sure am wondering when the Costa Rican people will tire of taking it in the shorts from ICE, CAJA and the rest of the monopolies that exist here.

8 Responses to “ICE Incapable of Satisfying the Internet Needs of Costa Rica”

  1. Arp on September 15, 2007 5:44 pm

    So this is for all internet connections? Cable modem service is resold and comes from RACSA, which is part of ICE, right?

  2. Tim on September 17, 2007 8:48 pm

    Pretty good question!

    Here is my take!

    ICE runs the show and owns ALL of the phone system AND all Internet connections. State monopoly.

    RACSA buys its service from ICE.

    RACSA then sells services to people, businesses, and to CableTica, Amnet etc.

    So if there is not simply enough routers at the NATIONAL (ICE)level and not enough hookups in the central offices… well that sort of means that the caca is going to flow downhill. Right?

  3. Doug Ward on September 19, 2007 9:59 am

    The problem is you can’t take a grass cutter, with a fifth grade education, and put him in charge of a nations communication system.
    I paid for a street light and they didn’t have anyone smart enough to modify the bracket to install it.
    I went to Canas, retrieved it and installed the thing myself.
    Now I guess I’ll have to fix the 100 foot gap in the road….where there used to be a road…. at Tierra Morenas before tourist season hits.
    Back to studying satellite systems….

  4. James on October 23, 2007 1:32 am

    Does anyone know anything about Samara and how the internet service is there? Is it hard to get? Do they have just DSL or cable as well?

    Thank you everyone! 🙂


  5. frank on November 2, 2007 2:58 am

    I think samara is a nice place. I know that they have cable. but I do not know if the do have Dsl

  6. Cliphy on December 3, 2007 6:10 pm

    Hi from NYC!

    My wife and I work online for media organizations and are considering coming down to Costa Rica for a few months and check it out. Your posts — and others sites we have read — about the broadband situation is giving us pause. We would need to be online (mostly filing and editing stories) for 6-8 hours a day; does that seem unrealistic? If we are offline for more than a day or 2, it’s “You’re Fired!”

    Thanks again and REALLY appreciate the blog and the way it’s written. 🙂

  7. Tim on December 4, 2007 3:36 pm

    It is a non issue so long as you stay in hotels that have Internet service or in San Jose where wireless is available in many locations.

  8. billyjim on January 8, 2009 2:53 pm

    the original dsl equipment was a “gift” from cisco to the ice. i was one of the orginal people that worked on that project.
    From what I can remember 4 or 5 dslams and three OC12 routers where installed.. there was an oc-12 ring on all three routers.. 655mb.
    The copper plan in CR was incredible. Great runs, minimal distance from the central office to the homes.

    ICE need to limit port 25 traffic, force everyone to use PPPOE authentication, and whack the abusers.

    One of the biggest mistakes I made was not insisting on ppp.