Costa Rica: E-Commerce
Costa Rica's economic policy encourages information technology operations, and the country has a good telecommunications system. There are a number of Internet Service Providers in Costa Rica, and a substantial software development sector, with clear interest being shown in continuing offshore e-commerce development.
Costa Rica's Internet infrastructure was historically slow and erratic, but plans were put in place to introduce a cheaper, faster and more reliable service called "Internet 2".
The new service came courtesy of the Costa Rica Electricity Institute (ICE), which announced in February 2001 the imminent arrival of new data transmission infrastructure that made Internet 2 available across the country by the end of the year.
The new Internet service was made possible by the arrival of Costa Rica's "spur" of an undersea fiber-optic strand, known as Maya Cable. The cable allows the country to connect to the Internet at faster speeds than the previous, satellite-based system, and it is independent of the telephone line.
Internet 2 began as a pilot project linking existing copper-wire data transmission infrastructure with new digital data "routers" capable of transmitting video, data and voice digitally, via Maya Cable.
In May, 2006, Costa Rica's state-run telecommunications provider signed a deal with Global Crossing, the US internet and telecommunications firm, which aimed to significantly enhance the Central American country's internet capacity.
Global Crossing announced plans to extend its core network to Costa Rica through the extension of its Pan American Crossing (PAC) system via the Unquí cable landing point in Esterillos.
Costa Rica's connection to PAC, which runs along the west coast of Central America from Panama to Los Angeles, would give the country access to Global Crossing's global IP network delivering services in more than 600 cities in 60 countries.
Following the signing ceremony for the landing agreement, ICE and RACSA immediately announced that they would purchase 24 STM-1 Private Lines, the equivalent of 3.732 Gbps of bandwidth, from Global Crossing. One STM-1 is equivalent to 155.52 Mbps of bandwidth.
"Latin America continues to be an integral part of our global strategy, and we're building on our successes in this region by extending our core network to Costa Rica," commented John Legere, CEO of Global Crossing.
"This agreement provides ICE/RACSA with a robust solution for worldwide connectivity from the Pacific coast, and enables the delivery of seamless, premier IP solutions to Costa Rican based businesses and end users taking advantage of all the benefits of world-class Global Crossing network," he said.
"We expect the direct national connection of Global Crossing's global network to enhance Costa Rica's position as a premier location for manufacturing facilities and contact centers of multinational corporations," he added.
The improved Internet structure was expected to bring increased direct investment to Costa Rica within a year of implementation.
In March, 2008, ICE announced that the country's connection to PAC would take place by July 2008, delivering a further boost to the speed and reliability of internet communications in Costa Rica.
In addition to PAC and Maya, Costa Rica is connected to the world via a further undersea cable, Arcos, which runs through the Caribbean.
See below for specific information on e-commerce in Costa Rica, or go to Offshore-e-com.com for an extensive analysis of the commercial possibilities and the legal background.