Government Technology

Tecamac: A City of Hope for Mexico's Future



October 24, 2005 By

A dream of bridging the digital divide is coming true in the countryside outside Mexico City. A municipality called Tecamac in the state of Mexico witnessed birth of Real del Sol, a development of 1,800 small but attractive homes surrounded by palm trees, quiet streets and a connection to the world.


Tecamac's 1,800 homes are linked wirelessly for commerce, security and community.

Surprisingly it is a pilot project in Mexican low-income housing. Even more surprising, perhaps, is that each home comes equipped with a computer and a high-speed connection to the Internet. A Mexican Texa PC connected to the Internet is included in the house price, and the connectivity is merely $18 per month, including a neighborhood portal, a security system, e-mail account and more. All that for about half the cost of DSL connection service in the region. The homes are available to families earning less than U.S. $700 per month, and according to Adriana Labardini, a telecommunications expert, demand has exceeded all expectations, as about 600 homes are now finished and sold.

"With visionary and socially responsible entrepreneurs, like Real Paraiso, inexpensive houses are not condemned to be ugly, poor quality, environmentally unfriendly and technology divorced," said Labardini. In addition to connecting to the Internet, the housing development has its own Web site for local interaction with neighbors and allows online purchasing from local shops, internal communication among neighbors and its homeowners association, and an impressive security system you can access online.

"So you have the potential to order all the supplies you need and you can order your meat online, or a taxi," she said. "The businesses in the neighborhood are advertised on this Web site, offering special prices for the neighborhood. So this is the kind of grass roots, creative and consumer-oriented project we want to see in Mexico."


Web-accessible security cameras provide residents a view of the home, playground or commons.

Security cameras are located throughout the neighborhood's common areas. "From your job, for instance," said Labardini, "you just access that Web site, enter your password, and you can watch the neighborhood and your door entrance on the Web site. Or when you are at home, working or cooking, parents can watch their children play on the playground nearby."

A public elementary school has been built in Real del Sol and is also connected. The federal government through INEA provides digital educational contents both for youth and adults who had no formal education, and a multimedia program called the Encyclomedia, for fifth and sixth graders. "So this state of the art elementary school," said Labardini "was possible because of the vision and commitment of Mexican entrepreneurs who believe in doing well while doing good and the use of disruptive technology."

The project has caught the attention of many people from President Fox to Microsoft and Intel. The latter offered promotional support and low prices in partnership with Texa for both hardware and software. Infonavit, the federal government financial entity for low-income housing, has also endorsed the project as a role model that should be followed by other developers. It is a win-win investment.

Real Paraiso, the developer named it G-7 Habitat (Seventh generation homes).

Two weeks ago, Conectha, the ISP, was awarded by President Vicente Fox, the "Housing Best Practices" Annual Award, a recognition within the "Premio Nacional de Vivienda."

"That's an example of what creativity, goodwill and ethics can do. It is a beautiful place," said Labardini.

Monopolies and Regulatory Opposition

Not everyone, however, is as enamored of the Tecamac project as Labardini. Being very well acquainted with Mexican telecommunications regulation,


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Comments

Steve, Yaeger    |    Commented May 11, 2006

Someday? I Like to live in Mexico City & have my Own Home? but the cost to buy one i do not know what it whould Cost to have one. my frist time I Live on the Social Security From: The Goverment $1310.00 Dollars A Month

Steve, Yaeger    |    Commented May 11, 2006

Someday? I Like to live in Mexico City & have my Own Home? but the cost to buy one i do not know what it whould Cost to have one. my frist time I Live on the Social Security From: The Goverment $1310.00 Dollars A Month

Steve, Yaeger    |    Commented May 11, 2006

Someday? I Like to live in Mexico City & have my Own Home? but the cost to buy one i do not know what it whould Cost to have one. my frist time I Live on the Social Security From: The Goverment $1310.00 Dollars A Month

Alan    |    Commented May 26, 2010

well steve, houses in mexico city are all of kind of prices, one of real paraiso starts in 30,000 dollars, but one little (47 m2) and you will pay for it moreless 200 dollars per month (is what my parents pay), but if you want a biggest house you will pay as 1,400 dollars per month. There are a lots of houses and departments that are not expensive

Alan    |    Commented May 26, 2010

well steve, houses in mexico city are all of kind of prices, one of real paraiso starts in 30,000 dollars, but one little (47 m2) and you will pay for it moreless 200 dollars per month (is what my parents pay), but if you want a biggest house you will pay as 1,400 dollars per month. There are a lots of houses and departments that are not expensive

Alan    |    Commented May 26, 2010

well steve, houses in mexico city are all of kind of prices, one of real paraiso starts in 30,000 dollars, but one little (47 m2) and you will pay for it moreless 200 dollars per month (is what my parents pay), but if you want a biggest house you will pay as 1,400 dollars per month. There are a lots of houses and departments that are not expensive


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