Cantv Does Not Improve Its Internet Service Despite The Sale Of Shares To Private Companies

CANTV Does Not Improve Its Internet Service Despite The Sale Of Shares To Private Companies

Maracaibo, Venezuela — Arístides Vale, a 65-year-old Venezuelan, is daily upset by the poor quality of the internet service he receives at his home in Guacara, Carabobo state. Provided by the state telecommunications company, its download speed barely exceeds 400 kilobytes per second and it works “intermittently”. “The service is so bad that a bolívar they charge is very expensive. It’s terrible,” the Venezuelan told the . The service of the National Telephone Company of Venezuela, popularly known as CANTV, charges Vale 23 bolívares per month (2.6 dollars) for its ABA plan, which has a download speed of 4 megabytes, not a quarter of what was promised. However, it is what Vale, retired from human resources administration, can pay. Vale’s situation is that of many Venezuelans who cannot pay for private internet services that charge up to 10 times more than the state company for plans of equal or greater speed, but with fiber optics. In Venezuela, where the minimum monthly wages and pensions barely touch 15 dollars, the CANTV plans are for many the only option. Despite the fact that the company has begun to sell shares on the stock market to private parties, which forces it to perform more efficiently, the problems with the service continue. In July last year, CANTV had 2,400,000 users subscribed to its internet service, making it by far the main fixed internet provider in Venezuela. A report from the National Telecommunications Commission in 2020 specified that CANTV was responsible for 53% of internet users in the country. Although most private companies offer “solidarity” packages, with low speeds and relatively cheap prices, CANTV offers service in sectors where private companies do not reach or, if they do, they charge rates beyond the reach of the majority. CANTV sells shares, but problems continue Administered by the government of Nicolás Maduro, CANTV offers plans with Gpon technology and fiber optics that give the image of a company in constant innovation. But many users constantly complain of faults and interruptions and the company often becomes a trend in social networks due to complaints and claims. Founded in 1930 under the auspices of the government, the company opened in the final decade of the 20th century to a gradual privatization to improve its performance and quality of services. However, about 80% of its shares passed into state hands in 2007, in the midst of a strategy by former President Hugo Chávez to nationalize companies considered key. Amid repeated complaints by trade unionists and users of an unfortunate service, President Nicolás Maduro announced last May the sale of between 5 and 10% of the shares of CANTV and its subsidiary Movilnet through the Caracas stock exchange, arguing that the The government needed capital to buy technologies, open “new markets” and seek “the development of all public companies”. The offer of CANTV shares on the private stock exchange legally obliges the company to maintain “principles of good organizational governance”, such as the audit of first-class firms, adequate risk management, and compliance with the prevention of money laundering. and financing of terrorism, explains Oscar Doval, president of the Rendivalores brokerage house and the Venecapital private investment fund. CANTV commits de facto to a transparent administration, to periodically publish its audited account statements and is forced to operate as a “profitable, productive and efficient” company so that its shares do not fall, he underlines. If these levels of efficiency, transparency and productivity do not exist, CANTV’s shares would remain “cold”, warns Doval to VOA, who specifies that the first sale of shares of the state-owned company absorbed nearly 300,000 dollars in a matter of minutes. These offers are expected to continue in the stock market in 2023. “It is a very positive disposition, because these shares are being marketed on a private stock exchange and the brokerage houses that are marketers. It shows that the government is turning to the private sector so that it becomes part of the state companies so that they work better, ”he says. CANTV’s public offer does not seem to have been an immediate retaining wall for the failures of its services, however. Last month, a fiber optic cut was reported that left users in Ciudad Guayana, the sixth most populous city in the country, without internet for 15 hours. In August, the company confirmed the interruption of service in four states due to a double fiber optic cut. In July, CANTV’s connectivity fell to 46% throughout the country due to failures, according to records from the independent technology and telecommunications monitoring project Venezuela Sin Filter. The number of CANTV users is precisely what causes the failures to cause “a disproportionate impact” on the Venezuelan population, warns Andrés Azpúrua, director of the NGO Venezuela Inteligente, in charge of the Venezuela Sin Filter project. “The quality of their services is really sad, especially in the more traditional ones. There is not enough development of fiber optic connections due to years of complete abandonment of policies. The faults are multiple and affect many percentages due to maintenance problems, investment, faults or wiring theft”, he told the VOA. Azpúrua said that the company announced “improvements” but that these involve payments of “premium prices” that in Venezuela are unattainable for most. CANTV began this year to offer fiber optic internet services through pilot plans called Plus in the Capital District and Zulia, in the west. The plans are a combination of fiber with a copper connection and Ultra, exclusively fiber optic. A trade unionist from the state company said on condition of anonymity that CANTV has made an effort this year to install fiber internet in residential complexes and villas, but that the service in general is operating “very badly.” Attention is kept only to the breakdown reports that are made through Ven APP, an application designed this year by the government to be in contact with the communities and their problems, he indicated. Among the most frequent complaints about CANTV in this application and social networks are the constant signal failures, the slowness of the service, problems buying equipment for domestic use and late attention to breakdowns. One user, Joel Reyes, said this week on Twitter that the company had failed to honor a service reconnection request he made more than five years ago. Another client lamented that the suspension of his service for two months was due to an alleged “debt”, which he said was “false”, he wrote on Twitter. The company has reported cable theft in the east, center, west, south and Andean region of Venezuela on numerous occasions. As stated in January by the company’s president, Jesús Aldana, there were at least 475,000 subscribers affected by theft and vandalism throughout Venezuela. The company did not respond to multiple calls and messages from VOA requesting comment. CANTV vs. other providers In Maracaibo, in western Venezuela, private providers such as Airtek and Full Data offer internet with speeds between 200 and 600 megabytes for between 25 and 35 dollars. In Caracas, companies like Supercable promote services with only 50 megabytes per second of download for the equivalent in bolivars of 140 dollars a month. Other companies that offer internet over the air charge up to $500 for the device plus installation. But despite the criticism from its customers, CANTV’s prices are more affordable. In Zulia, CANTV offers the ABA Ultra plan for 170.60 bolívares (19.3 dollars) with installation and modem included. The Plus involves a higher investment of 200 bolívares ($22.7) for installation and subscription, plus 211.96 ($23.9) for the modem. Some private companies in the Zulia region offer fiber optics with speeds of at least 200 megabytes per second for $25. The best CANTV service costs between 20 and 40 dollars for 100 or 300 megabytes per second. In the case of ABA, the prices of their offers range between 3 and 15 dollars. But CANTV reaches areas of the country where other providers do not provide internet access. José Sotillo, an industrial engineer who lives in the city of Maturín, in the eastern state of Monagas, told VOA that he has been waiting for a year for the installation of the service in his mother’s house. In June, they made him fill out the request form again. While he waits, he invests much more money in recharging the balances of his telephone line with private companies to watch movies and series or work with the Internet. “I still do not have an answer about the installation or how much the amount that I am going to pay will be. We need a service that is purely internet to reduce the cost”, he lamented. According to the private firm Speedtest Global, Venezuela ranks 140th in the list of internet speeds in the world, with 12.11 megabytes per second. It has climbed 13 points on that list since January, when it was ranked 153 with 9.15 Mbps. Chile, with an average speed of 217.43 megabytes per second, remains at the head of that Speedtest Global classification, followed by from Singapore (215.83) and China (196). The United States, for its part, is located in seventh position, with 172.30 megabytes per second. Connect with the ! Subscribe to our channel Youtube and turn on notifications, or follow us on social media: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.



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