Opic has established a US$150mn support facility to promote information and communications technology partnerships between the US private sector and Brazil.
The facility will enable US firms to access loan guarantees and political risk insurance for information technology projects in Brazil. Over the past three years, Opic has approved financing and political risk insurance for projects in telecoms, cellular telephony, cable, wireless and television. The announcement comes as the agency has focused additional attention on telecommunications and information technology projects as a tool in promoting Opic’s development mission.
Additionally, the support facility will advance the Bush administration’s “One Hemisphere” initiative to create common markets for North and South America by promoting common standards in the Americas for the next wave of technological upgrades, especially in the region’s free over-the-air broadcasting infrastructure, which is poised to go digital. Already, over 1,200 US television stations are reaching over 99% of US households with free-over-the-air digital transmissions offering HDTV, multicasting and data services that can dramatically expand the variety of education and social programming. The US DTV technology, known as ATSC, has also been adopted in South Korea, Canada, and Argentina and is under serious consideration throughout the Americas.