LIMA – High cost, poor quality connections, no electricity, illiteracy and gender are the greatest obstacles to Internet access in Peru, according to a Mozilla Foundation report released Tuesday.
The study, sponsored by the organization dedicated to creating and distributing free software, analyzes the use in Peru of “zero cost” Internet – the social networks and apps that telecom operators offer users free of charge – and found that these practices are no threat to “net neutrality” in the country.
The study was taken by researcher Roxana Barrantes of the Peruvian Studies Institute (IEP), who said in a note issued by Mozilla that zero cost policies do nothing to “connect more people to the Internet,” but are basically used by young people “to control access costs.”
“The real barriers to Internet access in Peru still exist, above all for women busy with their families, low income folks and those living in rural communities,” it says.
Barrantes analyzed how zero cost policies offered by operators, which subsidize access to popular sites like Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp, affect Internet use.
She found, however, that free access has not improved the Peruvian public’s “understanding of the Web,” and very few users go online for the first time through these services.
These offers are mostly used in Peru by young adults with smartphones and who see them as a way of “cutting costs” but without “significantly limiting their use of the Internet or the sites they visit.”
“Many rural communities have no Internet, but also lack basic services like electricity. Language and illiteracy are other barriers to Internet use, while learning to use the Internet takes time that many don’t have,” the study says.