The telecommunications network in Costa Rica is relatively modern and sophisticated. Basic telecommunication services are provided by Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), a state owned monopoly created in 1963 after being separated from the postal services. Its subsidiary, Radiografica Costarricense (RASCA), provides telex, telegraph, video conferencing, data transmission, Internet access, facsimile, data and value-added services and it also acts as a regional data network for neighboring countries without packet switching networks (El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua).
In late 1999 the Asamblea Legislativa, Costa Rica's legislative body, approved the outline of a law that would have liberalized Costa Rica's telecommunications industry. The idea was to split the ICE into two separate companies selling services (ICEtel) and power (ICElec). The second stage of the process would have been the liberalization of Costa Rica's local and long distance phone markets. However, the efforts to liberalize the company failed in March 2000 due to massive demonstrations and road blocks (mostly organized by ICE's trade union, which is the largest and most influential in the country, and university students) against a perceived attempt at privatizing the company.
In April of 2000 the Constitutional Chamber of Costa Rica's Supreme Court ruled the initiative unconstitutional, effectively killing the process. A commission that was appointed to come up with an alternative plan reached its deadline without being able to agree on any issues. It is therefore unlikely that Costa Rica will liberalize its telecommunication sector in the near future.