Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Workforce Innovation: Chile’s Un-Welcoming Policy for Migrants

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to many societies, work on infrastructure and the economic integration of countries,” Awad said. “Whether it’s drones or whether it’s digital, Chile should be in the forefront of it. It’s just that the government doesn’t know what to do with all these migrants from Mexico.”

He added that migrants are forced to leave other countries because they want better conditions. “If it’s good, you stay in your home country,” he said. “If it’s bad, you leave your home country, because that’s the best option.”

That’s exactly the problem that the current Chilean government has in trying to handle the number of migrants, Awad said. He said the government has the ambition and the funding, but lacks the will to get the job done.

“They’re trying to build houses and they cannot find them because they don’t know how to implement those projects,” he said. “They don’t know how to integrate them into society. I think that’s one of the main problems with Chile today.”

(The country’s foreign minister also told the reporters who traveled with him that Chile is “unhappy” with the way U.S. immigration policies are affecting Chilean families and employment opportunities in Chile. The deputy foreign minister said Chileian diplomats have said at the United Nations that President Trump’s policies threaten families.)

It could be years before Chile’s government finds an appropriate solution to the country’s migrant problem, Awad said. “We just want the situation to be normal. We just want Chile to be a normal country where the country can live in peace.

The problem stems from Chile’s failure to control its own borders, he said. “The rest is just luck,” he said. “This is really just failure on the part of the state.”

Bonus Opportunity

Speaking to the reporters on the trip, Ed Frierson, director of technology for Digital Lava, said his company plans to launch a next-generation broadband network in Chile that will provide ultra-fast mobile broadband to residents of areas with poor broadband infrastructure.

“If it’s a city, you need basic high-speed for city governments to be able to set up various ordinances, things like that, so that the city can expand to get services to consumers at low cost,” Frierson said. “But if you look at the overall situation, the service in the areas where the residents don’t have broadband is not good enough for very low-income families that are very mobile.”

The company wants to change that by building a mobile network in Chile that would offer 12 gigabits of data per second to its wireless-only consumer base. That’s considerably more than what is currently available on broadband service in Chile, according to Frierson.

“We’re trying to address a market where it is estimated that 2.3 million people on the island of Tierra del Fuego, where our data service is in the beginning planning to go to, don’t have an LTE [wireless] service,” he said. “So it’s almost the entire island.”

He added that Digital Lava is interested in connecting the island, but first needs to provide better broadband to the country as a whole.

“That would be the next step,” Frierson said. “We are interested in going to Chile’s low-income neighborhoods, but we also would like to access areas where the population isn’t going to go.”

Frierson stressed that Digital Lava does not plan to charge local families for its services. Rather, the company plans to sell services to people who already have an account on its technology platform. The company plans to offer free or subsidized service to promote growth of its base of wireless users in the region.

“Because we have a base of people already signed up, those are the people that we think are going to grow,” Frierson said. “And if they have more things to spend, they are going to grow.”

The company plans to partner with several service providers in Chile that are investing in their technology to provide the advanced broadband services, he said.

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