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Peter McFarren President Foundation for the Development of ICTs in Bolivia

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Peter McFarren President Foundation for the Development of ICTs in Bolivia. The importance of Alliances between Civil Society, the Government and International Agencies to reduce the Digital Divide Presented to: Open Access Workshop. Sweden, May 2004. An Overview of Bolivia.

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Peter McFarren


Foundation for the Development of ICTs in Bolivia

The importance of Alliances between Civil Society, the Government and International Agencies to reduce the Digital DividePresented to:Open Access Workshop

Sweden, May 2004

an overview of bolivia
An Overview of Bolivia
  • Bolivia has 1.1 million square kms
  • A population of 8.5 million
  • The largest indigenous population in Latin America
an overview of bolivia3
An Overview of Bolivia
  • Two thirds of Bolivia is tropical, one third highlands
  • The country’s GNP is 1,200 US per capita
  • Bolivia ranks 114 out of 174 in the UNs Human Development Index
an overview of bolivia4
An Overview of Bolivia
  • Life expectancy is 62 years
  • Democracy returned in 1982
  • President Carlos Meza sworn in as president in October of last year after a popular uprising led to the resignation of Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada
telecommunications sector
Telecommunications Sector
  • Telco market was opened in 1995, eliminating the monopoly of ENTEL, even though it is the mayor telco in Bolivia providing Internet, cell phone, data transmission and satellite services.
  • Entel was bought by STET from Italy for 610 US million and was responsably for installing phones in communities with more than 350 residents
  • Three cellular phone companies serve over a 1 million clients
  • Cooperatives have a monopoly on local services
  • Regulatory polices are the responsibility of the Superintendence of Telecommunications
telecommunications sector6
Telecommunications Sector
  • Only one fifth of households have a fixed telephone line
  • 80 percent of all lines in services are in three largest cities
  • Bolivia has one of the lowest levels of teledensity in Latin America
status of bolivia s ict sector
Status of Bolivia’s ICT Sector
  • Only 45 Bolivian public schools have Internet
  • There are only 2,800 computers in Bolivia’s 12,000 public schools
  • Funding for Universal Access has been limited
  • Internet is available to only 5 percentage of the population although Internet Cafes have opened access in mayor cities
  • Limited Community participation in developing ICT strategies and programs
challenges facing the ict sector
Challenges facing the ICT Sector
  • Lack of Coordination between government, private sector, civil society, universities and donor agencies
  • Lack of a E Strategy for Bolivia
  • Limited resources for reaching rural areas and connecting schools
  • Limited awareness of the importance of ICTs as a development tool
challenges facing the ict sector9
Challenges facing the ICT Sector
  • Weak government institutions responsible for ICT Development
  • Private Sector only interested in high traffic and high profit areas
  • Donor agencies lack clear and coherent strategies for ICT Development
  • Too many resources wasted on studies and bureaucracy
players in implementing ict programs in bolivia
Players in implementing ICT programs in Bolivia
  • ADSIB in charge of Government E-Government Strategies.
  • Vice Ministry of Telecommunications in charge of policy and channeling resources to the ICT sectors
  • SITTEL in charge of regulatory policy
  • World Bank, UNDP, Inter American Development Bank, USAID, IICD, CAF, foreign aid programs
players in implementing ict programs in bolivia11
Players in implementing ICT programs in Bolivia
    • Established by the Vice Presidency to coordinate government E-strategies and programs.
    • Limited resources and personnel inhibits effective implementation
    • In charge of coordinating the UN GeSCI program
    • Limited civil society participation
players in implementing ict programs in bolivia12
Players in implementing ICT programs in Bolivia
  • Vice Ministry of Telecommunications
    • In charge of implementing the World Bank and Government Rural Electrification and Telecommunications project
    • Limited effect due to lack of counterpart funds, efforts to reduce government deficits and bureaucratic changes
    • 20 US million dollar World Bank loan on hold due to above factors
    • Strategies and policies dictated from Washington with limited civil society participation
    • ICT not considered a priority by Central Government
players in implementing ict programs in bolivia13
Players in implementing ICT programs in Bolivia
  • Superintendence of Telecommunications
    • In charge of implementing telecom regulatory policies
    • Well positioned economically due to fees collected from Telcos
    • Universal Access laws limit access of new players for rural telecommunications
    • Spectro policies inhibits expansion of wireless systems
    • Lack of E-strategy for the country
players in implementing ict programs in bolivia14
Players in implementing ICT programs in Bolivia
    • New foundation set up to coordinate and implement Information and Communications Technology programs in Bolivia.
    • Partners include the Bolivian Government, aid agencies, NGOs, Telcos, software companies and universities
    • Will implement Development Gateway portal in Bolivia
    • Participating in GeSCI strategy workshops for Bolivia
players in implementing ict programs in bolivia15
Players in implementing ICT programs in Bolivia
    • Working on Food For Minds project with the Quipus Foundation to set up a National Fund and Program for Information Technology, Training and Culture.
    • Program is based on monetizing surplus food products donated by governments.
    • Surplus food products would be sold at competitive prices in Bolivia and other markets.
    • Partners include the UNDP and ACDI VOCA, an NGO expert on monetizing surplus food products.
    • Would help fund GeSCI program in Bolivia
    • Would support innovation, culturally-appropriate content and software development, training and Community Telecenter Projects throughout Bolivia
players in implementing ict programs in bolivia16
Players in implementing ICT programs in Bolivia
    • Working on a Information System for Development that will set up a Geographic Information System based program to coordinate, systematize and provide open access to information on education, health, donor agencies, NGOs, micro credit institutions, etc. s.
    • Partners would include the World Bank, the Inter American Development Bank, the Institute of Statistics, municipalities, government agencies and NGO’s
    • Would provide a web-based information system that would operate independent of political and government changes
players in implementing ict programs in bolivia17
Players in implementing ICT programs in Bolivia
  • Ministry of Education
    • Limited ICT educational strategies
    • Lack of funding for implementing schools, Internet and Programs in public schools
    • Partners in Entra 21 Youth ICT training and youth employment program
    • Lack of priority for implementing ICT programs
    • Key partner in GeSCI program in Bolivia
players in implementing ict programs in bolivia18
Players in implementing ICT programs in Bolivia
  • CRIS Bolivia
    • This network of civil society and NGOs supports Information Society awareness and programs in Bolivia.
    • Universidad Real. Implementing a Telecenter Educational project
    • FINFURAL and several NGOS implementing community Telecenters.
players in implementing ict programs in bolivia19
Players in implementing ICT programs in Bolivia
  • Quipus Foundation-NUR University
    • Operate 3 Cisco Networking Academies
    • Implementing a Center for Innovation in ICT for Development in Bolivia
    • Runs programs on Linux, Network Security, VSATs, etc
players in implementing ict programs in bolivia20
International Youth FoundationPlayers in implementing ICT programs in Bolivia

Entra21 Bolivia

Is comprehensive and innovative ICT training and employment project designed to fill educational gaps of disadvantaged youth in Bolivia improving their employability and ultimately their economic prospects as well as those of their families.

players in implementing ict programs in bolivia21
Players in implementing ICT programs in Bolivia

Three components of Entra21 Bolivia

  • Integrated Classroom Training for 600 youth (16-29 years) from semi-urban and rural areas
  • Practical Training (Internship) for 2 months
  • Job Placement Services
players in implementing ict bolivia
Players in implementing ICTBolivia

DESATELDesarrollo, Energías Alternativas y Telecomunicaciones

A project developed by CARE, NUR University, the Quipus Foundation, the NGO network PROCOSI

project overview
Project Overview
  • “Socially responsible” rural telecommunications venture backed by non-profit organizations
  • Plans to develop nation-wide Community Telecenter network to offer affordable Internet, IP Telephony and Video services. Will work with the ICA E Links hub in Canada
  • DESATEL will utilize a network of franchised Community Telecenters to provide community access to communications resources and development programs
desatel s mission
DESATEL’s Mission
  • Affect positive social and economic change in rural Bolivia by creating a sustainable Community Telecenter Network to serve as the delivery platform for valuable telecom services and development programs

La Paz






Encapsulador IP
























  • Bridge the digital divide in Bolivia:
    • Telecenters and telecommunication services (Internet & IP telephony)
    • Renewable energy services
  • Utilize Telecenters to deliver comprehensive development programs:
    • Distance education, training and multi-ethnic content and cultural programs
    • E-government transactions and workflow
    • Municipal strengthening
    • Telemedicine and micro-credit services
    • Transfer of remittances from overseas
    • Agricultural resources (water/soil analysis)
  • DESATEL will offer the following services:
    • Connections to the Internet to Telecenters, schools, universities, health centers, micro credit institutions, municipalities, private companies, tourism operators etc.
    • Radio IP, video, and IP voice transmission
    • Web and email hosting
    • A platform for long distance education
telecenter franchise system
Telecenter Franchise System
  • DESATEL’s Community Telecenter Network will be organized in a franchise system
  • Community and/or institutional (i.e. local partners, NGOs and micro-credit organizations) stakeholders will manage each location
  • Involvement by community stakeholders and leaders will maximize facility utilization and accelerate technology adoption
  • DESATEL will utilize VSATs DVB RCS open standard technology offering two way connectivity to reach regions of Bolivia without land line access
  • Easy to install and operate
  • Ideal for institutional networks with geographically dispersed sites and/or communities lacking infrastructure
  • Low-cost technology enables DESATEL to offer extremely competitive telecom services and valuable programs
long distance education platform
Long Distance Education Platform
  • DESATEL and GLOBATEL will use the Community Telecenter network as a platform for long distance educacional programs for public employees, teachers, micro credit organizations, NGO’s, etc.
  • Broadband connectivity through a DVB platform will be provided by DESATEL. GLOBATEL will provide the video conferencing platform.


  • Municipalities
  • Educational centers
  • Telemedicine
  • Electoral Court
  • Customs
  • NGOs
  • Micro Credit Institutions



video conference


Public Telephone

educational system
Educational System

The system will include:

  • Central Transmission Studio
  • Two way satellite transmission, point to multipoint system using Broadband Internet
  • Instalation, training and operation of the network
ideas to reduce the digital divide
Ideas to reduce the Digital Divide
  • Support the Development of a Country Strategy and Action Plan involving the Government, Civil Society, Universities, NGOs, bilateral and multilateral aid agencias and municipalities. UNDP is supporting the preparation of a Country E strategy.
  • Identify and search for innovative funding mechanisms (debt swaps, universal access funds, Food for Minds, etc) that will support the sustainability of ICT for Development projects.
  • Set up a Center for Innovation in Information Technology in Bolivia for Development
  • Strengthen Government institutions to assist in implementing E-strategies and E-Government Programs
ideas to reduce the digital divide36
Ideas to reduce the Digital Divide
  • Establish the GeSCI program with the Ministry of Education and ADSIB with support from UNDP, FUNDETIC, CRIS, etc.
  • Implement a Universal Access Fund paid for by Telcos.
  • Support the regulatory policies that will allow for the spread of wireless, VoIP and other state-of-the art telecommunications technologies.
  • Promote public awareness campaigns on the importance of ICT as a Development Tool
  • Promote ICTs as a tool to improve government efficiency, reduce bureaucracy and corruption and improve public services
  • Support the development of culturally-appropriate content for the educational and development sectors
  • Support ICT services for Small and Medium Enterprises
ideas to reduce the digital divide37
Ideas to reduce the Digital Divide
  • Support technological innovation in areas such as VSATs, Wi Fi, recycled and inexpensive computers, accesible and culturally appropriate software.
  • Involve universities in promoting ICTS as a development tool
  • Set up a Fund for Innovation in ICTS
ict center for development and education
ICT Center for Development and Education
  • Joint venture; Quipus Foundation, Mision Titicaco + Fundetic

Empowerment, entrepreneurship, problem solving, business services, culturally- appropriate content development

  • Education,communication is key to sustainable development

contact information
Contact Information

Peter McFarren


Fundación para el Desarrollo de las TICs en Bolivia (FUNDETIC).

[email protected]