The Internet in Latin America:
A detailed look at the cases of Mexico and Uruguay

MapBetter Late than Never

        The Internet in Latin America, much like in the US and other parts of the world, developed around academic and research institutions. It came somewhat late, but by 1997, most Latin Ameican countries were connected to the internet. Currently, about 9% of the world's internet users are from Latim America, and the number is growing.  Latin America consists of many different economically, culturally, and socially diverse countries, so it is difficult to speak of trends in Internet usage in terms of the entire region. However, if we focus on the countries that are considered to be  leaders in internet usage and penetration we will be able to draw conclusions that will apply to the countries that do not boast the same levels of internet usage and penetration.  For that reason we have chosen to focus on Mexico and Uruguay, both of which are considered leaders in internet usage and penetration in Latin America.

        Because of Mexico’s proximity to the United States, it was the first Latin American country to have wiring capable of bandwidths greater than 2Mb/second. Mexico was at one point the forerunner in terms of internet use and availiability in Latin America, but despite its proximity to the US it was unable to maintain that status. On the other hand, Uruguay was able to jump ahead of the pack, and in 1999 it was the only Latin American country to have more than 5% of its population online. This was in part thanks to its high education index and succesful implementation of internet/computer labs in schools. Uruguay is no longer at the forefront of Latin America in internet penetration, but it remains one of the leaders nonetheless.

        This web page is an exploration of Internet access and usage in Mexico and Uruguay. An introduction to the history of the Internet in both countries is given, as well as a breakdown of their electronic infrastructure, current ISP information (including prices of Internet access) and Internet usage and access statistics. An analysis of the strategies that both countries have adopted in order to increase internet connectivity and computer use can also be found here. The final section of this website is a discussion of differences in connectivity and what role they can play in the development of these two countries, and perhaps in that of the region in general.




Andrés Cassinelli

Javier Fernández

CS 201X

Stanford University