We live in a world with Google, iPhones, Wikipedia, unlock tools to iPhone, GPS Systems, Web2.0, The Pirate bay and a bunch of other cool technology stuffs. But most of those things are useful just if you have (fast) access to the internet; either on a desktop or on your cellphone over the street.

The Brazilian Institute of Geografy and Statistics (IBGE, in portuguese) says that more than 2000 cities (or 36% of our cities) in Brazil doesn’t have access to broadband yet.

Scary number hugh?

Trying to end this discrepancy, the brazilian government signed a contract on 2005 with Telefonica, Oi and Brasiltelecom to install Telephony Service Areas (PST in portuguese) on each city over the country.

Less than 3 years later the government perceived that wasn’t a good idea at all, and April 2008 they propose a change on the contract. The new rules, accepted by the operators, says that they don’t need to install the PSTs on all cities (except on rural areas) but must install backhauls instead.

If we could compare broadband with a flower (so cute…), the operators backbones would be the trunks, the backhaul would be the twigs and each city the flower. The point is: without the backhaul it can’t be done, cause it connects the operators backbone with the cities.

Good for us! Nowadays it’s better to invest on broadband than wireline.

To convince the players to accept the change on the contract, ANATEL (National Telecom Agency) prove that the cost to implement all the PST would be the same to build the backhauls. It was a nice fight, but ANATEL won.

Tricky Paranoid Info Alert on

On that same period, a new element was born. Besides the new PST agreement, the government signed a second new deal with the opeators: the installation of 1Mbps connections on each 56.000 public schools over the nation, without any cost for the government.

Wait a second… I smell something.

“there is no free lunch” as the Nobel-prize Milton Friedman used to say.

Why the telcos accepted that so fast and easy? Patriotism?

The legend says that the telcos agreeded to pay all the costs on those projects in exchange to the death of the old idea of a “state backbone”. The government already has 40.000 Km of optical fiber from the bankcorrupted Eletronet all over the nation.

Why don’t invest on it?

Tricky Paranoid Info Alert off

But there is a plobem… actually, there are two problems: The throughput on contract are small and the unbundling (other companies sharing the big-player infra and starts a competition, it’s good for supporting new players too) is forbidden.

Imagine a city with 70.000 inhabitants and 20.000 homes (IBGE) with 64Mpbs broadband to all of them, if just 1000 of homes could buy the service, they will all get the fricking-awsome-super-fast 64kbps internet! w00t… and all that without competition (monopoly), because there isn’t unbudling.

BrTurbo, Velox and Speedy would love it.

I have to agree that this is better than no internet at all, but come on! We are so far away to making a real digital inclusion project that when something like that appears we all happily throw our hands in the sky and sing “aleluia”?

As a brazilian citizen I’m ashamed.

If everything happens just like I wrote, the day the President delivery the first school with broadband connection would be the borning of a new revolutionary act, with the popularization of the broadband technology and a lot of other applications, but will be too the same day that the free-competition and the state broadband plan died.