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Internet Service

Last Updated: Nov 08, 2011

computers internet
 - Costa Rica

Costa Rica is no stranger to technology, and many populated areas have access to either cable or DSL high-speed Internet. RACSA’s WiFi service is available free of charge at select locations throughout the country: the Juan Santamaria International Airport, city central parks, malls, and several public libraries. Many tourist-friendly towns have high-speed Internet as well. In rural areas, dial-up modems, ISDN and 3G cellular service are the connection methods of choice.

Until recently, ICE (pronounced ee-say), the government electric and telecommunications monopoly, controlled all Internet services. The 2008 ratification of the Central American Free Trade Agreement required a lift on ICE’s monopoly, and international service providers are in the process of joining the Costa Rican market.

ICE/RACSA

ICE offers three main Internet services: ISDN, ADSL and 3G cellular. RACSA, its subsidiary, offers several additional alternatives, including dial-up Internet, prepaid Internet (via dial-up), 900-number access, high-speed cable Internet, free WiFi hotspots, and their newest service, WiMAX line-of-sight high-speed Internet.

ICE ISDN

ISDN service, known in Costa Rica as RSDI, is marketed under ICE’s Lineas DUO service. ISDN functions at double the speed of dial-up (128 Kbps), and is available in most areas without access to DSL or cable Internet. Though a phone line is used to connect to the Internet, ISDN users can make and receive phone calls when they are online, though doing so reduces Internet speed to 64 Kbps. This plan allows for unlimited monthly minutes online. In addition to the fees listed below, ISDN users are required to pay 4,181 CRC (about $8) per month for base DUO service and $12.43 for access through ICE or $16.95 for access via RACSA.

Type of service

Total Cost of New Line Basic ISDN (i)

Basic Monthly Fees

Residential

17,430 CRC ($31.40) (1)

2,610 CRC ($8.08)

(1) Includes installation cost, deposit of guarantee, and installation of network terminal equipment

ICE ADSL

ADSL service offers high-speed data transmission via copper telephone line. To subscribe to ADSL Internet service, the user must be within 2-3 miles of the mother connection. For this reason, ADSL service is only available in more populated areas of the country.

As of 2010, ADSL installation costs 23,404.56 CRC including tax (about $47). Monthly fees, including modem are as follows:

Service

Speed in Kbps (down/up)

Monthly Fee

Special Service

128/64 Kbps

$11.30

Acelera Home Basic

256/128 Kbps

$14.69

Acelera Home Medium

512/256 Kbps

$21.47

Acelera Home Premium

1024/512 Kbps

$28.25

Acelera Home Premium Plus

2048/768 Kbps

$42.94

Acelera Pymes Basic

1536/768 Kbps

$70.06

Acelera Pymes Medium

2048/768 Kbps

$81.36

Acelera Pymes Premium

4096/768 Kbps

$102.83

Kolbi 3G

ICE launched its Kolbi 3G cellular service in early 2010. This is an affordable option for people who live in areas not serviced by other high-speed Internet plans. Note that only Costa Rican citizens and legal residents may request a 3G line.

Service

Speed in Kbps (down/up)

Max Download

Cost per Additional Kb

Monthly Fee

Kolbi Internet

Up to 128 Kbps

Unlimited

--

$8.00

Kolbi Internet 500 MB

Up to 256 Kbps

500 Mb

$0.000027

$13.56

Kolbi Internet 1 GB

Up to 512 Kbps

1 GB

$0.000020

$20.34

Kolbi Internet Unlimited

Up to 1024 Kbps

Unlimited

--

$27.12

Kolbi 3G Prepaid

Kolbi’s 3G cellular Internet is also available on a prepaid basis. This service appeals to individuals who are in the country for only a few months, and also to those without legal residency. It is available for $0.000027 per Kb downloaded; this rate is deducted from your prepaid balance.

RACSA Dial-Up

RACSA’s dial-up Internet is an affordable, albeit slow connection. In addition to dial-up monthly fees, you must pay for minutes used on your home phone line.

INTERNET PLAN

Contracted hours

Monthly Fee (US $)

Cost per additional hour (US $)

Deposit

 (CRC)

Internet without limits

UNLIMITED

15.00

---

5,000 CRC

Personal Internet

12

9.90

0.90

5,000 CRC

Super Economic

Monday-Friday from 7 p.m. to 8 a.m.; all day Saturday & Sunday

4.95

0.90; limit at $13.50

2,000 CRC

RACSA Prepaid Dial-Up Internet

This option is ideal for anyone who wants to get online quickly and affordably. Pre-paid cards may be purchased for 1,800 CRC (5 hours; expires after two months), 3,550 CRC (10 hours; expires after three months) or 5,300 CRC (15 hours; expires after four months). Like traditional dial-up, a double-fee structure is in effect: users must pay for their phone minutes and Internet minutes.

RACSA 900-Number Internet Access (900-ENLINEA)

Minutes are billed at 7 CRC per (approximately 1.3 cents per minute), and the service will be blocked if used for more than 36 hours/month, unless the client sends a fax authorizing additional use. Like traditional dial-up, a double-fee structure is in effect: users must pay for their phone minutes and Internet minutes.

RACSA High-Speed Cable Internet

In addition to ADSL, this is the fastest Internet connection for personal users. Access is granted through Amnet, CableTica, Coopelesca and Super Cable. Users must pay the RACSA rate plus the fees charged by their Internet provider. The following fees account for approximately half of the total monthly cable rate:

Service

Speed in Kbps (down/up)

Monthly Fee

Basic

256/64 Kbps

$6.97

512/128 Kbps

$8.47

Plus

1Mb/256 Kbps

$12.97

1.5Mb/256 Kbps

$17.48

3Mb/256 Kbps

$24.98

Gold

2Mb/512 Kbps

$34.98

4Mb/768 Kbps

$49.98

4Mb/1Mb

$64.97

Cable Internet from Amnet and CableTica

Costa Rica’s two major cable companies, Amnet and CableTica, offer high-speed cable Internet service via RACSA. The government currently regulates their rates, though this may change. The following chart notes the rate for cable Internet, including the RACSA rates mentioned above, though pricing varies slightly according to company. Cable television service is necessary for cable Internet installation.

Service

Speed in Kbps (down/up)

Monthly Fee

Basic (Dynamic Public IP)

256/64 Kbps

$13.95

512/128 Kbps

$16.95

Internet Plus (Dynamic Public IP)

1Mb/256 Kbps

$25.95

1.5Mb/256 Kbps

$34.95

3Mb/256 Kbps

$49.95

Internet Gold (Static Public IP)

2Mb/512 Kbps

$69.95

4Mb/768 Kbps

$99.95

4Mb/1Mb

$129.95

RACSA WiMAX

Short for Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access, WiMAX is a line-of-sight, high-speed wireless Internet option. Billed under the name Evoluciona (It Evolves), this new service is currently available in select areas of San Jose, Heredia, Cartago and Alajuela.

To utilize this service, customers must install a small antenna, and purchase or rent a converter box ($6 per month). Installation cost is $100.

Service

Speed in Kbps (down/up)

Monthly Fee

Evoluciona Basic

512/256 Kbps

$29

Evoluciona Plus

1024/512 Kbps

$74

Evoluciona Premium

2048/1024 Kbps

$244

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