According to the Latin Business Chronicle, Panama is one of the top three nations in the Latin America region when it comes to technology and Internet penetration. The tiny Central American nation has moved up to knock Chile out of the second-place spot thanks mainly to strong wireless growth.
The news comes on the heels of the release of the LBC’s Latin Technology Index, an annual report that assesses technology levels in 20 Latin American countries. The date includes statistics on Internet penetration, personal computers, wireless subscribers and fixed-line telephony.
This year, Panama jumped from fourth to second place, while Uruguay remained in the top spot. Panama showed the most improvement in the index this year, improving 6.17 points to attain a score of 22.42.
El Salvador showed the second-best improvement with a rise of 3.07 points to give the nation a final ranking of 16.96. Though all the countries in the index improved their scores this year, Haiti and Cuba remain the lowest-ranking countries, respectively. Haiti only improved its score by 0.36 points to 5.15, with Cuba improving 0.40 points to 3.53.
Though Uruguay kept its top spot on the index (it’s the only country that ranked in the top five for every category), Panama has been gaining quickly. In the 2008 index, it took the number 13 spot, but jumped to fourth place in 2009 before advancing to second in this year’s assessment.
In a separate report in July, the LBC announced that Panama had replaced Argentina as the Latin American country with the highest wireless penetration rates.
Thus it comes as no surprise that in the technology index’s “wireless” category, Panama led the pack with a penetration level of 164.4%. Cuba again is the top loser in this category, with Haiti, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Bolivia also lagging in wireless penetration.
Panama is known for its advanced telecommunications infrastructure. A steady U.S. military presence in Panama—which ended when the U.S. handed over administration of the Panama Canal in 1999—helped put this infrastructure in place.
Since 1999, the local government and businesses have worked hard to ensure connectivity and telephone and Internet access in Panama continue to grow. Five of the world’s major optic cables intersect in Panama, making this a major communications hub.
The excellent infrastructure, along with a host of beneficial laws, has lured some of the world’s biggest companies to Panama. Dell, Language Line, 3M, and Philips are among the many multi-nationals to establish call-centers and regional headquarters here.
Read a brief of the Latin Business Chronicle article here (subscription required to read full article).
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