Computing Applications

Internet Connectivity and Multimedia Content in Latin America

Drummond Ltd. Systems engineer Carlos A. Brewer R.

 In order to surf the Internet you basically need two things: one computer and one Internet connection.

In most cases a user will find no issue getting a computer able to surf the Internet and this because all modern PCs and laptops comes with all necessary connectivity features and if that PC has no Wi Fi or Ethernet connection, a user can go to a computer store and purchase a universal adapter or its equivalent to get connected.

The story is different for the connection side; only a few years ago it was really difficult to find an Internet connection provider; in most Latin American countries connectivity was limited only to big cities. This panorama has changed and now almost every single city in Latin America has private companies able to provide a user with an connection to the Internet.

However, the story does not stops here; once a user finds a proper provider, he or she is forced to choose between a limited range of connectivity options and in most cases (and this was until few years ago) the so-called broadband was a connection with only 512 kb of capacity downstream and half or even less of this value for upstream.

Thanks to some rules, fiber optics, and some intense competition, this number has grown to a value of 2 MB downstream and, as with previous specs, half of this value or less for upstream; these connections can be affected in some cases because some Internet providers share one channel with several users and in peak times this velocity can be under the stated value.

These limitations on connectivity created a kind of vacuum in multimedia material in Latin America; basically, costs and connection availability prevented users from uploading their material. Instead, Latin America became more a downloader than an uploader region.

Fortunately this situation has improved in the past two or three years with the advent of high-speed connections at a lower cost. Now, with these connections, an explosion of multimedia materials created and uploaded in Latin America is available; and Internet newspapers, sites as YouTube and Flickr, podcasting Web sites, Internet radio and many more are available for Latin America users looking for multimedia content in their language.

This situation has created a synergy of forces that are increasing the time spent on Internet by Latin American surfers; thus, these users are requesting more and more material, and there are more e-commerce sites.

Actual speeds favor, in many aspects, the development of the Internet in Latin America as users of these powerful tools load and load more information every day, and the WWW gets richer in cultural expressions and in information.

Join the Discussion (0)

Become a Member or Sign In to Post a Comment

The Latest from CACM

Shape the Future of Computing

ACM encourages its members to take a direct hand in shaping the future of the association. There are more ways than ever to get involved.

Get Involved

Communications of the ACM (CACM) is now a fully Open Access publication.

By opening CACM to the world, we hope to increase engagement among the broader computer science community and encourage non-members to discover the rich resources ACM has to offer.

Learn More