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

Flag of MexicoMexico: It's Not Too Late to Catch Up

        Much like in the United States, the history of the internet in Mexico owes its existence to research institutions and Universities. The very first contact with one of the networks that preceded the internet occurred in 1986, when the ITESM (Monterrey Institute of Technology and Continuing Studies) first connected to BITNET through UT San Antonio. It was not till June 15, 1987 that the first permanent connection was established. The very first permanent connection was a private, four string analog line with a capacity of 9600 bits/second. Other Universities in Mexico such as the UNAM also connected to BITNET in 1987. By 1989, three lines connected the ITESM and UT San Antonio, and a CISCO router was used, the lines were no longer exclusively for BITNET use.

        The first computer in Mexico to receive a DECnet connection was a Microvax-II (with the address owned by the ITESM, it had TCP/IP capable software and was the first internet node in Mexico and was the first Name server for the .mx domain. After the ITESM, the UNAM (Mexican National Autonomous University) connected via satellite to the NCAR in Boulder, Colorado. Mexico now had two nodes that were also interconnected through 9600bps lines (the same ones used for BITNET).  Shortly after, many universities and research institutions were able to begin connecting to the net, since the satellite connection allowed a 56kbps bandwidth. More 56kbps satellite connections were established and by 1992 MEXNET was formed. It consisted of a group of about 15 universities that used the net to share information, distribute email, and discuss the direction of communications in Mexico.

        On June 1st, 1992, Mexnet obtained a direct, 56kbps connection to the Internet Backbone. By 1993, 7 such nets existed, as well as an effort to conglomerate them. It was not till 1994 that the connection bandwidth grew to 2Mbps, thus allowing private users to join the net. 
In 1995, internet services in mexico were finally consolidated through the official organization of the NIC-Mexico, which is in charge of administration and coordination of Internet resources in Mexico, including domain names under .mx. Private internet use grew very rapidly, and by 1997 there were more than 100 ISPs in Mexico. Every one of those ISPs depended on the telephone infrastructure of the Mexican Telecom company TELMEX to reach their customers. TELMEX also provided internet services and it quickly dominated the market. By 2002, there were 75000 domains registered under the .mx domain name, more than 90% of which were