The mystery of Peru’s crappy Internet speed hasn’t been solved yet
Don’t get me wrong. I like my country, and I actually love it when I’m not in Lima but in any other province. I know PromPeru –government entity that promotes tourism– has made great efforts to highlight Peru’s most prominent attractions, but I really can’t lie to you all: it’s really crappy to get good communication here.
Today I was trying to log in to work, as I have done it for the past three or almost four years now, for my Canadian fellows (I won’t tell you the company’s name), and it was such a pain in the butt that I had to come here and blog about it. I know third-world countries (sorry Peruvian entrepreneurs, that’s where we are) aren’t supposed to have good quality Internet connection, but I really have to confess it’s starting to kill me nowadays.
My boyfriend just came for the Holidays from the US, where he currently lives and studies, and ever since we have hooked up to the Internet on his laptop –I’m pretty sure he would want me to specifically say it’s a MacBook– this comment would come up: why is this connection so (damn) slow? I would go something like: you know it’s always like this babe, be a little patient. I guess I said that because he left Peru around three years, and he did remember how ridiculously slow our Internet speed could be. Then, this experience rises a question: has this changed at all ever since he left?
Maybe a little, but patience is over for me now too.
I have 2 Mpbs of Internet speed at home, and it sill it feels like 1 Mbps. Before I tell you what I found on the little research I carried out after my Internet speed sort of stabilized, let me explain something about Peru’s telecommunications system: it’s crap.
A little history
Back in the 80’s, telecommunications for Peru was equivalent to ONE national phone company, then Alan Garcia’s hyperinflation tore down everything that was good and valuable, leaving us without being eligible for credit nor any other hope for technological development. Along came Fujimori’s economic shock and sold that ONE national phone company to Spain, which is now known as MOVISTAR, formerly and still remembered as Telefonica del Perú.
There would have been nothing wrong about Peru selling the one phone company we had back at that time, if it wasn’t because it was sold in really crappy conditions: it was sold to become a telecommunications monopoly. That’s what it is right now.
I won’t deny there has been a major progress in Peru’s phone service, but it could have been MUCH BETTER if we had encourage market competitiveness in both mobile and landline phone services. I did a little research about Internet upload and download speeds in Latin America to see what’s going on, and I found some interesting stuff.
Peru versus the world
Let’s start with our neighbors. According to this post, which I will now consider reliable for the means of my post, in 2009 Peru had the slowest upload speed in South America, beating Uruguay by one notch (and we can all imagine how bad that can be). Our upload speed is 0.22 mbps versus Chile, who’s got 0.7 mbps (they’re number 1 on this ranking)… And Chile is just right next to us.
When it comes to download speed, the chart changes a little but not much. Peru is on the 6th place out of 10 countries in South America, with a download speed of 1.04 mbps, beating Venezuela, Ecuador, Uruguay and the Falkland Islands (again, are we all aware of how bad that looks?).
Even Cuba, where is already hard enough to even access the Internet, has better numbers than Peru: their upload speed is 1.11 mbps and their download speed is a surprising 2.35 mbps (faster than Brazil).
To make me feel even better, I looked up a little farther from Latin America, and I went all the way to Asia. According to Forbes, South Korea has the fastest Internet speed in the world, and they’re planning to boost residential connections to 1 Gbps for 2012. Apparently, they have like a super awesome strategy to give everyone good quality access to the Internet. God bless them.
Now I have to ask, what’s our problem then? Is it like not enough people in Peru use the Internet be worth the improvement of our connection speed? Is it that our market is not dynamic enough for Movistar to put a little more money down on this matter? Almost 26% of Peru’s population access the Internet nowadays, and our penetration levels are one the highest in the continent. Can anyone explain this to me?