Currently, about 38% of Uruguayans are currently connected to the web. This is a significant increase in Internet penetration considering in 2000, it was only 11% of Internet subscribers; In 2005 with 21% of Internet users . Despite the growth for the decade being a staggering 260%, Uruguay still occupies only 1% of South American Internet market. This is due to the small population relative to its South American neighbors.
Even with expensive fees associated with the Uruguayan monopoly on ADSL usage, home adoption of services has the highest market adoption rate in Latin America. Recent trends however pointed to Uruguayans using 3G wireless services as the preferred communication channels.. Still though, Uruguayans have adopted a popular Internet cafe culture to facilitate their online needs, at relatively low prices.Locally Relevant Content (STAGE 2)
The Uruguay top-level domain is .uy. The Servicio Central de Informatica administers domains for such needs. Unfortunately however, registration fees for the .uy domain is extremely expensive for a local country code, at approximately $360 .
Because of the excessive fees associated with registering a local domain in Uruguay, presence for local entities is extremely limited. Additionally there are strict restrictions and regulations for entities wanting to register under the .uy domain. First, the entity wanting to register under the .uy domain must have a physical presence in Uruguay, no virtual presence is considered valid. Further it necessary for the registering entity to be an Antel customer. These type of restrictions do not lead to an open and welcoming Internet for local registration to offer services for local users. The result is limited content for Uruguayans.ICTs in Everyday Life (STAGE 3)
Because of the expensive fees and monopolistic practices of Uruguay's Internet and data communication services, adoption of such services is growing, but limited to those considered more affluent with disposable income, at 38%. Competition in Uruguay’s mobile market is intense. All three mobile operators (state-owned Ancel, Telefónica’s Movistar, and America Movil CTI Móvil) have launched 3G services. In other telecommunication areas, Uruguay is becoming an early technology adopter. Uruguay is the first Latin American country to have adopted Europe’s DVB standard for digital TV .
The Uruguayan government however has a mixed record with supplying its citizens with competitive practices. Because Antel is the state-owned Internet provider, the government has banned the use of Cable modems which could significant boost Internet adoption and increase speeds and reliability.ICTs in the Workplace (STAGE 3)
Similarly to the home adoption rate of Internet use, businesses also share similar Internet adoption rates. Because of the expensive fees and rules/regulations associated with having an Uruguayan Internet presence is less than expected. These fees and rules/regulations have deterred businesses from expanding their Internet practices.
The Uruguayan government is realizing the need for better Internet presence by local businesses. Like the Ceibel plan which provides all children with a laptop and Internet connection, the Uruguayan government is sponsoring a program called the Integra Programme to promote and expand use and access of information and communication technologies in the Paysandu province to boost business. This pilot program may eventually expand to all of Uruguay to build a social capital that will provide the foundation for local digital development .Sources
Contributor: William Groom