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COSTA RICA

  • "Costa Rica leads Central America in terms of Internet penetration, yet it is the least liberalised telecom market in Latin America..." ---Telecoms in Latin America 2004, Buddecomm, June 2004.
  • "Visiones para el desarrollo de las telecomunicaciones en Costa Rica" (Visions for the development of telecommunications in Costa Rica), chapter 5 of Hacia la Sociedad de la Información y el Conocimiento en Costa Rica, [Towards the Information and Knowledge Society in Costa Rica], May 2010. Describes the history of telecommunications in Costa Rica, the general principles which ought to govern telecoms today, and steps toward the enactment of a new telecom law.
  • "Ley General de Telecomunicaciones," published in La Gaceta 125 (30 June 2008) as Law number 8642, in Spanish. Chapter 2 is devoted to Spectrum. "Free use" frequency bands are authorized in Article 9: "These bands require no concession, license or permit, subject to the specifications laid down by regulation."
  • Frecuencia Costa Rica - free online magazine published in Spanish by Camara Infocomunicacion & Tecnologia (ICT House). See also their online archive of Costa Rican laws related to telecommunications
  • "Costa Rican Constitutional Court Declares Internet Access a Fundamental Right," CommunicationsDirect News, 9 September 2010: "...The ruling forces the government to review its national telecoms development plans, as at the moment universal internet service is not part of the government's targets for the telecoms sector, said Environmental, Energy and Telecommunications Minister Teófilo de la Torre..."
  • "Costa Rica to be a Wi-Fi zone," Inside Costa Rica, 22 January 2011: "If presidenta Laura Chinchilla has her way, Costa Rica will be one big Wi-Fi zone, which means free wireless internet for everyone. The free wireless is included in the Plan Nacional de Desarollo (National Development Plan) 2011-2014, as one of the government's priorities in science and technology. Page 194 of the document reads 'Having a wireless network that allows the public permanent access to Internet.' The ministra de Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnologia (Micit), Clotilde Fonseca, confirms the interest of the government to develop a free network at the highest speed possible. 'The idea is to have a wireless connectivity layer, for example, for young people in schools and colleges, for tourists and for small and medium enterprises (PYMES). It would be a wide band but at a speed that does not compete with commercial services,' said Fonseca. The ministra said 180 million colones has been allocated to get the project moving, that would be similar to a project Panama is developing at a cost of us$25 million dollars... Fonseca accepts that the budget will not allow her ministry to fully develop the plan, for which she is counting on financial support by the Fondo Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (Fonatel), boosted by the us$170 million dollars paid by Movistar and Claro for cellular licenses... The La Ley General de Telecomunicaciones (telecommunications law) requires that residents of all regions of Costa Rica and without discrimination in terms of price and quality be provided with minimum telecommunications services, points out Miley and the free wireless internet allows the government to comply with the law."
  • "Control de Radio da visto bueno a Ley de Telecomunicaciones" (Radio monitoring service gives approval to Law of Telecommunications) by Esteban A. Mata Fonseca, La Prensa Libre, 15 February 2007, in Spanish: Costa Rica's draft telecom law shifts primary responsibility for radio regulation from Oficina Central de Radio (OCR) to the Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos (ARESEP), and even OCR's director agrees it's for the good of the country. (See below for earlier reports of corruption at OCR.)
  • "Decreto Ejecutivo No. 27554-G" (06 de noviembre de 1998): this promulgates the "Plan Nacional de Atribución de Bandas de Frecuencias Radioeléctricas" - the national frequency allocations plan - in Spanish. Articles 36-43 define "Los Servicios que no Requieren Concesión" - the services which require no concession (i.e., they are license exempt):

    "Estos servicios se caracterizan por utilizar emisiones de muy baja potencia que minimizan la posibilidad de interferencia perjudicial, poseen una notable inmunidad a las interferencias provenientes de emisiones similares con métodos convencionales de modulación y que tales características que permiten mejorar considerablemente la eficiencia en el uso del espectro..."

    (These services are characterized by the use of very low power emissions that diminish the possibility of harmful interference, have a remarkable immunity to interference originating from similar emissions with conventional methods of modulation, and such characteristics allow considerable improvement in the efficiency of spectrum use...)

    Two types of license exempt service are described in the Plan: spread spectrum transmissions in the 2400-2483.5 MHz band, and "walkie-talkies" using the 462 and 467 MHz bands. The power limit for spread spectrum is 200 mW and no "external" antenna, with a maximum signal range of 200m. Other "general" services sharing the 2.4 GHz band are limited to 2 watts with a "suppressed antenna." (See Article 37b, and Footnote CTR.2.60.)
  • Footnote CTR.2.60 in the National Frequency Plan: "El rango de 2300-2500 MHz es Liblizado por radioenlaces de repetición para la transmisión de audio y video entre las unidades móviles y los estudios de los candles de televisión." (The identified band is for audio/video relays between TV stations and their mobile units.)
  • "Requerimientos de informacion para frecuencias de asignacion no exclusiva" [Requirement for information about non-exclusive frequency assignments], ARESEP, 29 April 2010 in Spanish. Covers the bands 3625-4200 MHz, 4400-4900 MHz, 4900-5000 MHz, 5850-5925 MHz, 5925-6450 MHz, 7425-8400 MHz, 10-10,5 GHz, 10.95-11.700 GHz, 11.700-12.200 GHz, 12.2-12.7 GHz, 12.75-13.75 GHz, 13.75-14.0 GHz, 14.0-14.4 GHz, 14.4-15.35 GHz, 15.4-15.7 GHz, 15.7-17.3 GHz, 17.7-19.7 GHz, 19.7-21.2 GHz, 21.2-23.6 GHz, and 25.5-27.5 GHz.
  • "Municipalities in Costa Rica to cash in on opening of mobile telecommunications market," Inside Costa Rica, 3 August 2010, in English: "...Municipalities in Costa Rica are looking to cash in on the opening of the telecommunications market by charging operators a tax or license fee to erect and maintain radio towers. This would be the first time that municipalities would be allowed some control on the location of the radio base towers and a new source of revenue. The change comes with the move forward in the opening of Costa Rica's mobile telecommunications market with the expected three new operators to be approved to operate separate cellular networks later this year. In addition to the license fee, mobile operators will also have to pay for building permits to erect the towers..."
  • Costa Rica Inalambrica - Spanish-language website for a pilot project of wireless connectivity sponsored by Cisco Systems and the Costa Rican Foundation for Sustainable Development. The aim is to offer free wireless Internet access to the public through 50 hotspots in schools, nonprofit organizations and public institutions like libraries and health clinics.
  • "New Internet café has signal that covers Cahuita," by Annette Carter, A.M. Costa Rica, 13 June 2006: "...The community might be the first in Costa Rica to be covered by what is called a wireless cloud... Currently the signal extends 400 meters (about 1,300 feet) from the café which is located in the center of Cahuita... However, Cahuita is small enough to be covered by a single setup... 'Our plan is to unite Cahuita, Puerto Viejo and Manzanillo with WiFi,' " says café co-owner Nicolay Bent de Armas.
  • "Ministerio Público investiga a CANARA y Oficina de Control de Radio," Informa-Tico.com, 9 June 2005: "El Ministerio Público investiga a la Oficina de Control de Radio (OCR), en busca de pruebas sobre supuesta corrupción en la concesión de frecuencias del espectro radioeléctrico... Un 'mercado negro' se ha creado en el país con las frecuencias de radio." (The Public Ministry is investigating the Office of Control of Radio (OCR), in search of evidence of supposed corruption in the concession of frequencies of the radioelectric spectrum... A 'black market' has been created in the country with radio frequencies..."
  • "Costa Rica: Red por el Derecho a la Información y la Comunicación manifiesta" (Manifesto of the Network for Information and Communication Rights), 27 May 2005. Apparently, the investigation noted in the previous item was triggered by complaints documented by this Network, which is an alliance of 5 local organizations:

    "...El limitado acceso a las frecuencias de radio deviene un oligopolio de la comunicación en detrimento del derecho ciudadano a expresarse e informarse para participar de forma conciente en la vida nacional.... Propugnamos por la participación ciudadana en la formulación de una nueva Ley de radio que abra espacios a expresiones organizadas de la sociedad costarricense. Es por ello que presentamos una Acción de Inconstitucionalidad contra el Reglamento de la Ley de Radio 1758, que fue acogido para estudio por la Sala Constitucional..."

    (...The limited access to radio frequencies creates an oligopoly of communication detrimental to the citizen's right to expression and inquiry needed for conscientious participation in national life... We advocate civic participation in formulating a new Law of radio that opens spaces to organised expressions of Costa Rican society. It is for that reason that we presented an action challenging the constitutionality of the Regulations of the Law of Radio 1758, which was welcomed for study by the Constitutional Court...")

  • "Racsa steps up wireless internet plans," TeleGeography, 27 October 2005: "Costa Rican state-run ISP Racsa plans to invest USD5 million in 2006 to roll out wireless internet services in San José and Heredia. Racsa is preparing to launch a WiMAX service in Escazú and Santa Ana in January, in addition to ten WiFi hotspots, under the HotSpot Express banner, in the Barreal, Santo Domingo, Guadalupe, Curridabat and San José areas..."

Latin America & Caribbean - Regional Overview