Playing off of the class discussion on Tuesday that examined the appropriateness of telecom centers in developing countries, I decided too look into telecom centers in Latin America, and came across interesting discussion about the fragile state of Telecom Infrastructure in Brazil. In “More Investment Needed to Boost Brazil’s Fragile Telecom Infrastructure” by Filipe Pacheco (http://bit.ly/118KWnc) from Nearshores America (, the Latin American Out Sourcing Authority, the author discusses the rise of the “C class” in Brazil. This term has been used lately to categorize the growing lower middle-income socioeconomic class, the group that is most largely responsible for the increasing economic growth in Brazil throughout the last decade. The article begins by interviewing Ana Maria Cruz de Souza as she hunts for a laptop for her daughter and tablet for her son. She says, “I don’t know how to use the laptop or what the tablet is all about. But the prices are good…” Ana Maria, among many other of her class, is the reason technology products are seeing such a huge rise in demand. I find the most interesting element of this shift in the socioeconomic paradigm to be the growing gap between generations and their understanding and dependence on communication technologies. Cable TV, pre-paid cell phones, and the internet are the three major services rising most rapidly in demand, and while today prices may remain low, allowing women like Ana Maria to continue to buy gifts for her family, a continued increase in demand, with out major growth in the supply of these technologies will result in inflation of prices and lead to a failure of the technology sectors.
Unfortunately, poor telecom infrastructure still hinders Brazil. Major improvement is needed in the sectors of broadband, mobile devices and mobile broadband. However as organization such as Brasscom, The Brazilian Association of Information Technology and Communication Companies, urge the government to offer incentives to telecom companies willing to invest in the development of broadband services, the already poor infrastructure is preventing the government from incentivizing more R&D in the field.
The lack of incentive to expand the telecom industry is what creates the fragility in the market, and without more attention can lead to severe economic back tracking. In ICT4D most emphasis is put on helping developing countries gain access to the technology, but I feel the situation reminds us that when implementing ICT development issues and questions of sustainability need to be at the forefront of planning.