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Costa Rica fiber-optic internet coverage more than doubled in one year

February 19, 2021

Fiber-optic internet lines in Costa Rica grew 146% between June 2019 and June 2020, according to a new report from the Superintendence of Telecommunications (SUTEL).

Costa Rica had 78,417 km of fiber-optic line in mid-2019, and one year later had nearly 193,000 km of the high-speed cables.

Fiber-optic cables are bundled strands of glass, which act as conduits for light signals that relay digital code.

“This technology allows for internet speeds far beyond what you get from DSL or cable because each fiber-optic line can carry multiple signals at top speeds simultaneously,” per HighSpeedInternet.com. “Fiber internet also bypasses congestion, latency, and signal degradation issues that frequently occur with cable and DSL networks.”

The infrastructure improvements in Costa Rica correlates with more users. According to SUTEL, over the last year, fiber-optic internet subscriptions have increased by 63%.

“Internet service users have demanded higher quality in telecommunications services, a product of the conditions caused by the pandemic, and telecommunications companies have responded by expanding their fiber optic networks. This allows better bandwidths and stability,” said Federico Chacón, president of the board of SUTEL.

According to Speedtest, which tracks global internet speeds, Costa Rica ranks 80th globally in fixed broadband internet speeds at 43.32 Mbps downloads.

This puts Costa Rica well behind the United States (12th place, 179 Mbps) and Panama (36th, 111 Mbps), and in line with Mexico (77th, 45 Mbps).

National telecommunications company Kölbi offers fiber-optic internet plans starting at 17,900 colones (about $30) per month.

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