Instituto Fernand Braudel de Economia Mundial - Associado à FAAP

Think tank, and a do tank

Ed. 48: The Internet in Brazil

Poor strategy weakens progress

Author: Peter T. Knight | Published in 2013

The Internet in Brazil

The Internet is a great invention of the 20th Century that is changing the civilization of the 21st Century. Its power grows with the fiber optic cables that are now the nerves of the world economy. No other technology permits greater speed of transmission nor generates greater economies of scale at such a low cost as fiber optic cables. Thanks to this worldwide system of storing, organizing and sharing information, 90% of the data that exists in the world today was created over the past two years. This enormous flood of data is expected to double every two years through 2020.

The Internet has become the world’s most important means of processing information, comparable to the invention of the printing press with moveable type by Johannes Gutenberg, which expanded access to the printed word and the horizons of human knowledge since the 15th century. In that time paper and ink were fundamental. Today the physical means of communication are fiber optic cables, supplemented by satellites and terrestrial wireless technologies. Extending over land, under oceans or in space, together they are creating the basic infrastructure of the 21st century.

To build their business, young Internet entrepreneurs in Amazônia reach neighboring communities via radio links from high towers with equipment powered by solar panels. Building these towers can require transporting equipment and tower components over very difficult dirt roads, using small pickup trucks, as well as barges and boats on the myriad rivers of the rain forest. Many of these providers are pioneering young people in the most connected age groups, between 18 and 24 years old.

This essay will raise three questions:
- Why is the development of high-speed Internet connectivity and mobile voice, data and video services critical for Brazil’s development in the 21st century?
- Why do Internet connectivity and mobile telephony (voice, data, and video) services cost so much for such low quality compared with other countries?
- What can and is being done to improve these services and reduce their cost to consumers?

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Related issues:

  1. Books Lula and Mephistopheles
  2. Braudel Papers Public Security in Brazil
  3. Braudel Papers Democratization of consumption

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