Sunday Aug 12, 201208:54 PM GMT
Chavez to increase Internet access in Venezuela ‎
Sun Aug 12, 2012 8:53PM
Martin Markovits, Press TV, Caracas
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In the past year, Internet usage in Venezuela skyrocketed . Many credit Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s policies for increasing Internet access especially among the poor.

According to a new study by Internet marketing research firm Comscore, Venezuela had the largest increase of Internet usage in the world.

Between April 2011 and April 2012, Internet usage skyrocketed by 62 percent, doubling last year’s number.

These figures reflect Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s efforts to expand Venezuela’s Internet network to the poor who makeup the majority of Venezuela's population.

Since 2000 the government has established 700 computer centers called infocenters in the numerous shantytowns and rural areas throughout the country.

The Chavez government has also encouraged Venezuela’s main Internet provider, the government owned telecommunications company CANTV to provide credits and loans to low-income people to purchase computers.

Another governmental initiative has been the production of small laptops called Canaimitas for school children across the country. Since the program’s implementation in 2009, close to two million computers have been given to Venezuela’s public schools.

Despite the increase of Internet usage, Venezuela still has one of the slowest Internet speeds in the world.

According to Venezuela ranked 167 out of 176 countries in Internet speed.

Iniride Villega, who runs her own cybercafé in the Caracas neighborhood of 23-de Enero, says another problem is the frequent electrical blackouts that keep disrupting her Internet service.

By the end of the year, the government hopes to have turn in over a million small laptops to schools across the country. While at the same time they are continuing to build 5,000 kilometers of fiber optic cables that hopefully will speed up the Internet connection here.
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