Proposal to ban VoIP in Costa Rica

Thursday, March 3, 2005

World locator map with Costa Rica highlighted in green.
World locator map with Costa Rica highlighted in green.

The state owned telephone monopoly in Costa Rica, the Costa Rica Electricity Institute, (ICE) has called for VoIP Internet to be made a criminal offence. In Costa Rica it has been illegal for anyone other than ICE to offer telephone services. With a reputation for preventing any rivals from challenging its monopoly, but also for providing an efficient service, ICE has recently seen its monopoly dented with as many as 20% of calls being routed through Skype and other VoIP service providers.

On the other hand those who seek to promote the software industry in Costa Rica, which already has a dominant 78% share of the market in Central America and the Caribbean, have reacted by saying the proposal would be disastrous both to software development and the country's ability to outsource work. The ICE claims that its telephone structure is being used by VoIP service providers, which is almost certainly true given that Skype offers calls from the Internet to phones in Costa Rica for 8 US$ cents per minute.