Carlos Slim’s fortune exponentially grew after he acquired Telmex, the largest Mexican telecommunications company in the 1990s. Before that, Telmex was a parastatal company that maintained a monopoly throughout the Mexican territory.
Since the sale of Telmex, the Mexican government has promoted the free enterprise to extend the telecommunications network, a job that has been carried out halfway. At present, 72.2% of the Mexican population has Internet access, but coverage only reaches 20% of the territory.
The current government wants to attack this problem with a state company that brings internet connection to rural communities that are not profitable for companies. “We are going to tell them with great respect to the companies that have had the concessions, go aside, because now the government is going to put its business to communicate with the Internet to all Mexicans,” said López Obrador on tour in Nayarit.
Experts are not agree with government’s proposal
Several experts have criticized this proposal.
The cost would be too high. According to Carlos Hernández, an analyst at The Competitive Intelligence Unit, 187 billion pesos would be needed to eliminate the digital divide in the country.
Another point to consider is the lack of experience. The president of Observatel Irene Levy felt that the State “is not an expert in building or operating telecommunications networks.”
Michel Hernández, a telecommunications consultant, believes that the government should look at how to incorporate companies into this project. Private initiatives like Facebook have been proposed to shorten the digital divide in Latin America with cheap Internet services.
Carlos Slim thinks Mexico needs private and public investment to innovate
“The lack of an increasing middle class increasingly broad limits the demands for goods and services reduces investment and employment,” he warned during the opening of the XXV Plenary Meeting of the Círculo Montevideo Foundation, an event that brought together political leaders, economic and intellectual activities in Mexico City.
Slim believes that expanding and improving the Internet connection will help fight poverty since it is the “nervous system of the new civilization.” Therefore at least the educational and health centers in remote areas of the country should have a connection.
The Mexican magnate recalled the experience of Asian countries, who by adopting new technologies and improving their education system, have managed to grow double-digit.
“Innovation does not stand alone, it needs the support of the State, as it happens in China and Israel,” Slim said.