ICE Disobeys Constitutional Court Order to Improve Service to Santa Ana of Nicoya

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A year and two months after the Constitutional Court ordered the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE- Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad) to provide a solution to the problem of cellular coverage and Internet signal for the community of Santa Ana of Nicoya, the problem remains unresolved.

At least that’s the case according to Carlos Esquivel, who lives in the area and filed a constitutional appeal in 2013 regarding the poor cellular and Internet coverage in Santa Ana.

“This situation seems to be of little importance to ICE. Not only has the time limit imposed on them by the Constitutional Court already expired, but the requests for extensions that they filed have also expired, so we can’t wait any longer. We are going to file a lawsuit to collect damages,” said Esquivel.

On January 17, 2014, the Constitutional Court upheld the appeal and issued a ruling that requires the authorities of ICE and the Superintendency of Telecommunications (SUTEL) to take action to look for a solution to the problem presented by Esquivel.

The ruling says:

“Mr. Teofilo from the Arguello Tower, or whoever occupies his position as executive president of the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE), is ordered to take the actions that are within the scope of his power, within a period of six months, counting from the notification of this sentence, to present a project headed by FONATEL (National Telecommunications Fund), to the effect of evaluating the possibility of installing the necessary infrastructure to provide Internet and cellular telephone services in the community of Santa Ana of Nicoya.”

Another of the communities that has filed complaints with ICE due to the lack of cell phone coverage is Monte Romo of Hojancha, where residents affirm that they have poor coverage.

Marcelo Mendez, representative of the Monte Romo Development Association, pointed out that the problem cuts them off from communication.

“We have a problem with cellular coverage. There’s no signal here. You have to climb up into the hills and even then get only one or two bars of signal. What we ask of ICE is that they come to conduct a study to erect a tower, but they have ignored us,” Mendez said.

The Voice of Guanacaste tried to find out the version of a representative of ICE but we didn’t get a response.