USAID and NewCom Partner to Increase Broadband Access in the Americas

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, June 18, 2013
USAID Press Office

Miami, FL – The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and NewCom International today announced a partnership to increase access to broadband services via satellite to advance development in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Based on a successful collaboration in Colombia, USAID and NewCom signed a Memorandum of Understanding to leverage the latest telecommunications technologies to improve local economies, ensure public safety, access quality education and healthcare, and advance businesses.

“Access to the internet and electricity are foundational for many elements of development,” said Mark Lopes, USAID’s Deputy Assistant Administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean. “This partnership with NewCom goes directly to that by connecting remote communities in the Americas to the rest of the world, training at-risk youth in new fields, and introducing farmers to new markets.”

In Colombia, USAID partnered with NewCom, the Colombian Ministry of Education, and local companies to improve access to technology to extremely remote and conflict-prone communities. The project provided electricity and internet to 12 community centers and 26 schools, benefitting more than 4,200 students.  It also provided communities with an online connection to their local government, educational resources for children, sustainable, improved cell phone service, refrigeration, and economic benefits from reliable internet connection.

USAID and NewCom will design and support activities that:

  • Leverage broadband services to improve livelihoods. Particular emphasis will be placed on activities that develop cost-effective and efficient broadband solutions and boost affordable connectivity;
  • Electrify (using solar panels and other means) and connect USAID-supported outreach centers, community centers, and schools with internet access to enhance education and training available to at-risk youth;
  • Improve the ability of small-scale farmers, producers, rural-based entrepreneurs, and producer groups to connect with distant markets, export and improve access to agri-support services, and share information about crop production problems;
  • Strengthen the capacity of small-scale producers, small businesses, and the public to access and manage their finances via mobile financial services; and
  • Utilize satellite imagery and geographic information systems to foster climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction, humanitarian relief, and post-crisis reconstruction.

“We are truly honored to be a part of the solution to economic expansion by providing access and opportunity through technological expansion in Latin America and the Caribbean with USAID,” commented Dora Mejia, vice-president of NewCom International. “At NewCom International, this project underscores our mission to elevate business, foster education, and promote economic growth by providing the technology that opens the door to 21st century communications.”

This strategic collaboration with NewCom builds on USAID’s priority to promote public-private partnerships to help reach underserved communities.