Uruguay with a population of 3.5 million and GDP of 44.52 billion is a modern developing nation of South America. 98% of the country’s population is literate and the country has a well-developed ICT infrastructure with approximately half million Internet hosts and 1.34 million Internet users. In terms of network access, Uruguay is highly advanced and qualified for stage 4 with its cellular teledensity of 130%. Availability, quality, speed and affordability of the Internet access make the overall network access quite enviable for any developing nation. ASDL and cable modem are the prevailing delivery mediums along with Wi-Fi and 3G wireless access and speeds of 1024/128 up to 10 GB are available with an average monthly subscription cost of around $24 for 256/64 bit data transfer rate.
In terms of networked economy, the ICT sector has become the fastest growing sector of the country’s economy due to public private partnership. In terms of IC employment opportunities, the country is at stage 4 as universities have played a fundamental role in meeting the industry’s requirements by producing the needed IT and software engineering professionals. Uruguay can be considered a potential hub for IT solutions and there is a huge market for IT professionals in fast growing IT sector. In the area of B2C and B2B electronic commerce adoption, the country is progressing steadily but the adoption is not yet truly prevalent and the country can be ranked at Stage 2. In terms of e-government the country is at stage 3.Government legislation and advancement in G2C interfaces are moving at a fast pace in Uruguay.
In terms of networked society, the country is at stage 3 in the area of people and organizations online with 38% of the population connected to the web. The country lags behind in terms of locally relevant content probably due to extremely expensive local TLD. In terms of adoption of ICT in everyday life, the country has a better standing than rest of Latin America and can be termed as an early technology adapter. There however exists a disparity between the haves and have-nots in terms of technology adoption due to the monopoly of state owned Antel on the ICT services sector and the country can be ranked at Stage 2 in terms of adoption of ICT in everyday life. Internet adoption at workplaces is at stage 3 with similar hurdles due to monopoly of Antel. A program known as Integra program to promote the use of ICT at workplaces is underway as well.
In terms of networked policy, the country has been assessed at stage 3 in the telecommunication liberalization domain, universal access regulation, regulatory body, and stage 4 in the domain of telecommunication and data service options. Uruguay’s network is mostly monopolized by Antel s it has been determined at stage 3 in the “network open to competitors” criteria. In terms of ICT trade policy the country has been ranked at stage 3.
In networked learning, Uruguay has recently implemented the Ceibal program and plans to provide one laptop to every student enrolled in the public schools. Uruguay has this become the only country in the world to plan such a bold initiative and from the progress reported so far, the program is progressing in a pragmatic manner. Thus it would not be wrong to state that Uruguay is fast approaching stage 4 in this domain and same is true for “enhancing education with ICTs” because the Ceibal program is geared towards enhancing education with ICT. In the development of workforce criteria Uruguay is ranked at stage 3 as the educational system and universities of Uruguay are effectively producing the ICT and software development professionals to meet the needs of the local market.
Contributor: Mohammed Al-Otaibi