Under USAID’s GBI Program, Integra has initiated work with Peru’s Ministry of Transport and Communication and the Fondo de Inversion Telecommunicaciones (FITEL), to evaluate and address the gaps in connectivity throughout the country’s rural areas. The collaboration is designed to provide an investment strategy for the use of approximately $44 million in universal service funds to provide Internet connectivity for USAID Peru’s target beneficiaries in jungle regions East of the Andes Mountains. Despite FITEL’s investments of up to $40 million per year, it is estimated that only 6% of people in rural areas use Internet services, compared to 32% of those in urban areas. Accordingly, GBI will provide technical assistance to ensure that rural demand is understood and met, and that FITEL telecenters succeed in closing the rural-urban digital divide.
As part of this engagement, GBI consultants will conduct a digital divide study to assess the demand for connectivity, including levels of community awareness and information needs of the rural population. Integra will also evaluate FITEL’s past and current programs against international best practices, to determine the most effective strategy to promote rural broadband demand. Using this information, our ICT experts will offer policy recommendations, propose legal and regulatory reforms, and suggest project options to improve FITEL’s investment strategy and programs. Completion of the assignment is expected to be May 2014 with first investments stemming from the technical assistance being made in August 2014.