Brazil Announces Mysterious Free Plan to Popularize Broadband with US Help

    Brazil’s Communications Minister, Hélio Costa, says that for now he cannot give more details, but that thanks to two American companies Brazil soon will be able to implant broadband in 3,000 Brazilian municipalities and all of this for free.

    "This a revolutionary proposal," said Costa. "Unfortunately I still can not offer more details. I need to present the plan first to the President."

    The minister promises that he will be talking in the coming days to Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and his chief of staff, Dilma Roussef, about the American plan.

    Costa also remarked that the Lula administration is considering subsidizing poor families so that they can afford converters for the new digital TV service being introduced in Brazil. The Brazilian government has opted for the Japanese system.

    "We will to this," said the minister, "if it can be proved that the family has no resources to buy the little box."

    The converter will cost about US$ 50 in Brazil, according to the minister’s estimate. His idea is to finance the device through governmental banks like Banco do Brasil and Caixa Econômica Federal. The borrower would be able to pay US$ 2.50 a month and in case this is too much, he might get the converter for free.

    The presidential decree that established Digital TV in Brazil foresees that the system will be in place in 10 years. Costa, however, believes that this time might be shortened to as litlte as 5 years.

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