Internet Access in Every Corner of Guatemala

Internet Access in Every Corner of Guatemala

According to the statistics only 67% of the population has Internet access in Guatemala (source somewhere in elperiodico.com.gt or prensalibre.com.gt), but by 2012 the stats will be close to 90% of the population with access to Internet. These figures sound a little off or highly inflated for a country like Guatemala where the majority of the population does not have a computer.

Well, does true and perhaps these numbers are a little optimistic, but you can explain these figures if you focus in the word access. Most of the Guatemalan population does not have Internet access at home, but certainly Guatemalans get their access through work, restaurants with wifi networks, public wifi areas, cellular telephones and Internet cafes, like the one shown above.

According to a study by the Unión Internacional de Comunicaciones, from 2002 through 2007 the number of Internet users went from 400,000 to over one million and it was expected to increase to over 2.5 million in the following to years (source Prensa Libre: Se duplica número de cibernautas).

La extrema pobreza es casi sinónimo de extremo aislamiento, especialmente aislamiento rural. Pero los teléfonos celulares y la internet inalámbrica ponen fin al aislamiento y, por lo tanto, terminarán siendo la tecnologí­a más transformadora del desarrollo económico de nuestro tiempo.

Extreme poverty is almost synonym of extreme isolation, especially in the rural areas. But cellular telephones and wireless Internet access finally put an end to isolation and, therefore, these will end up being the transforming technologies of economic development of our times. (source elPeriódico: La guerra digital contra la pobreza)

No wonder there are close to 7 million cellular lines compare to half million telephone line lines. Now, it seems like everybody has a cellular telephone, from the shoeshine boy to el señor presidente. Now the race is on to bring 3G Wireless Internet Access to the rest of the country; Tigo has a head start, but Telgua and Telefónica are closing in and best of all the service is getting faster and cheaper.

Guatemala constituye, en opinión de expertos, uno de los paí­ses más adelantados del Istmo centroamericano en cuanto a penetración de Internet inalámbrico.

Guatemala is, in the opinion of experts, one of the most advance countries of the Central American Isthmus in terms of wireless Internet penetration. (source Prensa Libre: WI-FI, Internet sin conexiones)

In your travels through and around Guatemala, what have been your impressions about Internet access?

© 2009 – 2016, Rudy Girón. All rights reserved.

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  • Not only are you right on the definition of “internet access” for guatemala, but our own culture and state of constant fear makes us (especially older, old-school people, ignorant as well as educated people) afraid of the internet…

    http://www.elperiodico.com.gt/es/20080911/opinion/70004
    http://www.elperiodico.com.gt/es/20080527/pais/56031/
    http://www.elperiodico.com.gt/es/20070725/opinion/41900/
    http://javieraroche.com/2007/07/26/pensadores-de-columna/

    IMHO, our problem is not lack of information, but the close-mindedness and fear our culture has towards new things. More than education itself, we need to learn to stop making followers out of children…

    just my humble thoughts…

  • norm kwallek

    Last time in Guatemala I had no problems keeping up with my e-mail and work related needs on the internet. Even the little towns had internet .

  • Eric

    Rudy, I will echo norm’s comment. We are supposed to be so rich here in los estados unidos, but nearly all of the internet cafes in my area have disappeared. Maybe everyone is supposed to have a computer at home ? I do not have a computer at home, but I am always happy when I am in La Antigua Guatemala, or Panajachel, or Ciudad, and I can give an internet cafe clerk a few quetzales to check and send e-mail. I never need to carry a laptop in Guatemala. I am hoping the owners of the internet cafes benefit from this as much as I do.

  • Andrea

    It is such a coincidence that you post this today. We just got an e-mail (the first one) from amigos in San Felipe. The now have Internet in their home. I’m so happy about this because phone is expensive and iffy, and mail is a joke. I read the blog daily and really enjoy it. I have the urge to visit La Antigua Guatemala very soon.

  • While it’s true there’s a lot of cellular lines, not all these phones are ready for EDGE or 3G internet access, and still it’s very expensive. For example with Tigo, one KB costs you Q0.25 on EDGE and Q0.03 on 3G. Another problem with cellular internet access, it’s very unstable; in some zones you got a fine access, meanwhile others you got a very bad signal…

    The Internet cafes are a great success, here near to my home there are 3 or 4 places where you can go a rent a PC for a hour. Many students go there to do their homework (or copy&paste wikipedia, if you want).

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  • I think it is a blessing in disguise that Guatemalans can have access to the internet.
    The internet is by far the worlds most powerful tool and is helping everyday Guatemalans compete on the world stage.

  • Thomas Wheeler

    Rudy You will not believe this one Via the internet last year I ran my Radio Station by remote control from Antiqua to The State of Wis. I was in Antiqua and turned my Station on in Wis. First time anyone tried that one ever in the world . This took place Last March and ging to do it again this March while in Antiqua Sincerely Have a good Week Thomas Wheeler

  • Alfredo

    Bueno no escribo por la foto sino pq desde hace ya un tiempo vi que la forma en que llegan los mensajes rss ha cambiado, antes podia ver las fotos y si me gustaba o me causaba nostalgia entonces click para ver lo que las personas estaban escribiendo, ahora ya no, y he dejado de ver las fotos de mi bella Guatemala que la tengo del otro lado del charco.
    Si puedes regresar al sistema anterios de publicar la informacion lo agradeceria mucho.
    謝謝你。

  • @Luis Penados, thanks for your humble thoughts and the links to the newspaper articles.

    @Norm, I am glad to learn that even in the little towns one can find internet access.

    @Eric, I am sure they do and like Javier Aroche said, internet cafes are a great success.

    @Andrea, I’m glad to know the communication with your friends in San Felipe will be more frequent, reliable and economic. Thanks for your great feedback. You ought to come to Antigua in your next vacation.

    @Javier, I am glad you told us that even though we are a point where wireless internet access is becoming more common, internet access through a mobile phone is still expensive and unstable.

    @Craig, I am sure you know how to take advantage of the internet and to allow other people to have access to Spanish tutors online. Thanks for your feedback.

    @Thomas, please tell us more about the remote management of your radio station. We will like to hear the glory details.

    @Alfredo, dalo como hecho, ahora mismo te arreglo la retransmisión de contenidos completos (full feed) para que puedas recibir las fotos. 😉