188.8.131.52.2 Reduced spectrum fees
Another regulatory tool that governments may use to increase wireless broadband connectivity for schools is to reduce or waive spectrum fees for academic institutions.
The Malawi Library and Information Consortium (MALICO) has focused on establishing broadband connectivity to Malawian institutions. It launched a satellite-based Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) network in 2005.122 To assist with MALICO’s project, the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) waived most of the VSAT fees in order to reduce the programme’s implementation and operating costs.
By providing broadband access to schools via satellite, MALICO has been able to overcome problems associated with the lack of telephone line penetration in Malawi, particularly in rural areas. As of September 2008, the programme was delivering 1 Mbps via uplink and 256 kbps on the downlink to four universities and colleges.
In Peru, the Viettel Group was awarded a license in 2011 in the 1900 MHz band to provide fixed mobile services in Peru. Under the terms of this license, Viettel undertook to provide free broadband Internet access for 10 years to 4,045 public schools, with an investment of USD 1.3 million. Viettel outbid Americatel (which offered 2,011 schools and USD 1.3 million) and Winner Systems (which offered 1,601 schools and USD 1.3 million). 123
In August 2012, Viettel Peru SAC, won an additional mobile license, under which it has undertaken to provide services to at least 15,000 subscribers in its first year of operation and 357,000 more users within five years. Under the terms of the second license, Viettel must invest at least USD 300 million in installing signal reception and transmission stations, fibre optic cables, and other equipment required to achieve the target. Viettel was awarded the 20-year contract largely due to its commitment to provide free Internet services to 718 schools in Peru within the first 10 years. Viettel also committed to providing mobile services to 48 districts in Peru’s rural areas.124
122 MALICO VSATs and Connectivity (2008), available at http://www.malico.mw/vsats.htm.