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Geoforum 39 (2008) 1884–1896

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Expanding networks for the urban poor: Water and telecommunications
services in Lima, Peru
Ana María Fernández-Maldonado
Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Architecture, Berlageweg 1, 2628 CR Delft, The Netherlands

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:
Received 3 April 2007
Received in revised form 23 November 2007

Basic services infrastructures
Privatization of basic services
Water networks
Telecommunication networks
Splintering urbanism
Developing countries

a b s t r a c t
In many cities of the developing world, poor residents occupy land and build their dwellings before infrastructure is provided. Expanding the infrastructure networks for the poor is a long, expensive and complicated affair. Before the 1990s, the public sector was generally in charge of the basic services; but these
services have been liberalized and, in many cases, privatized since then. In this new context, a relevant
question is: have these reforms contributed to urban integration? Or, on the contrary, have they contributed to deepen urban fragmentation? This study presents the case of water and telecommunications services in Lima, Peru, the most contested and politically sensitive urban sectors. The objective is to test
Graham and Marvin’s claims about the splintering of networked infrastructures expressed in Splintering
The findings show that the reforms have improved the situation at aggregate level, but there is still no
sustainable solution for the crucial dilemma of cities with high poverty restrictions: self-financed network expansions versus service affordability. The diverging paths of the utilities reform in Lima illustrate
that privatization is not the main issue in the discussion to expand the networks for the poor. The main
conclusion is that sensible policies complemented with carefully targeted subsidies and continuous regulation can successfully provide water for all. Good governance practices at the urban level help to
achieve this goal. Water and telecommunications in Lima also show that are no general solutions for
the universalization of the services; each city is different and some sectors are much more complex
and problematic than others. This demands careful and continuous technical and political consideration
of the local circumstances to reform the utilities.
Ó 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction
National and international economic policies shifted sharply in
the late 1970s and 1980s towards greater reliance on market practices and the withdrawal of the state. Developing countries were
compelled to change the model of economic development towards
opening national borders to global trade and capital. In Latin America, the IMF (International Monetary Fund), the World Bank and
the IDB (International Development Bank) encouraged a profound
restructuring of the state according to neo-liberal thought, which
was mainly implemented during the 1990s. In this context, the
privatization and liberalization of key economic sectors was a central element of the reforms. Public utilities – energy, gas, water,
sewerage and telecommunications – were among the first public
companies to be reformed and privatized.
In Splintering Urbanism, Graham and Marvin (2001) state that
the notion of universal and integrated infrastructural systems that
characterized the expansion of the modern city is being gradually
abandoned due to the neo-liberal reforms: ‘‘During the last two
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decades there has been a paradigmatic shift across all networked
infrastructure sectors based on the movement from integrated to
unbundled urban networks” (2001, p. 138). The process of unbundling refers to separating bundled networks and services into individual functional components. The authors claim that the new
political-economic context is producing strong effects in urban
infrastructures. This ‘entirely new infrastructural landscape’ would
be conducive to cherry-picking strategies towards the constitution
of premium networked spaces on the one hand, and to the development of excluded or by-passed spaces, on the other hand. This
situation is leading to heightened levels of urban segregation and
urban fragmentation, which constitute a regression from the previous urban condition.
Consequently, Graham and Marvin argue that the ‘‘infrastructure ideal of universal and integrated infrastructural systems” that
characterized the modern city is being dismantled. Splintering
Urbanism emphasizes the processes of disintegration, fragmentation and segregation going on in cities around the world as a result
of the changing political and economic context. The objective of
this study is to test Graham and Marvin’s (2001) claims in relation
to two basic services in Lima, the capital city of Peru.

In such way. The case of Lima is a good example: barriadas may be an expression of spatial segregation. however. These types of privileged space exclude or control those considered different (‘‘the other”). the national authorities tolerated them. although its intensity has evolved and changed over time. The main question has been: have the reforms of water and telecommunications contributed to urban integration trends in Lima? Water and telecommunications were selected because of their value in answering the question. I also observed the state of these services in several recently formed barriadas of the South Cone.7% of Lima’s population was living in barriadas. Legalizing barriadas. Lima’s second wave of urban fragmentation corresponds to the emergence of large peripheral barriadas in the mid-1950s. The irony is that the ‘‘real Peru” gradually moved to Lima. but they have given their residents a place in the city. social. while barriadas filled up Lima’s surrounding hills. 4 Poor households are those whose income is not enough to pay for the consumption of basic products and services. the so-called Barriadas Law. p. Fernández-Maldonado / Geoforum 39 (2008) 1884–1896 With more than 8 million inhabitants. Urban integration trends in Lima From the point of view of urban planning. gated and/or enclosed urban areas obstructs the modern city’s ideals of freedom of circulation and openness of public space. The increased transparency and efficiency in the water and telecommunications sectors has been useful in obtaining recent quantitative data. the notion of urban integration refers to the incorporation of urban areas into the 1 In Peru. A map of Lima in 1613 shows the area of the Spanish colonists. is the expression of the rules organizing space according to patterns of social interaction and differentiation. the informal neighbourhoods are called barriadas. 2. when a military government made a serious attempt to ‘‘create a Peru that would be less dependent. in February 2007 I interviewed people involved with these sectors and (former) representatives of both regulatory agencies. the political scene was radically altered after 1968. on the other hand. poverty was less visible and widespread than in the rest of Peru. The opposite of urban integration are the concepts of segregation and fragmentation. Inequality and social divisions were. These settled in the hills to the north and south. an important feature of cities.M. who considered that to promote homeownership among the poor was the best way to fight communism. starting the development of the North. Segregation. one in which all of its citizens had the chance to participate’ (Dietz. The exclusion of people from public space (and public life) goes against the values of freedom. building vast barriadas1 at the periphery. conflicts and dilemmas that accompany the provision of basic services in cities with great poverty restrictions can be more easily observed and documented. The third and fourth sections are focused on the telecommunications and water reforms in Lima. The large areas of barriadas that surround formal Lima are called the Cones (North. employment. Both were reformed during the 1990s. and separated from it. refers more specifically to the lack or reduction of physical links and/or exchanges between areas. and.5 During the 1960s and 1970s Lima grew spectacularly. The 1981 census showed that 31. 1885 whole city dynamics considering physical. Migrants have sought to obtain them in informal ways. Current trends towards the privatization of public space (e. Lima’s mild climate and the very flexible housing policy as reasons for the massiveness. Pedro Beltrán. Urban fragmentation. the Law of Marginal Settlements (Calderón.4 the provision of basic services and their financial sustainability constitute key problems of urban planning. the area for the indigenous population. The use of many local sources and the selection of methods and topics are influenced by my education and working experience as a (local) urban planner and researcher. The second section presents the reforms of water and telecommunications in the Latin American region. 2005). when a negative view of these informal processes was held worldwide. El Cercado (the walled site). describing the main political-economic dynamics of its urban development. and the informal economy (Hernando De Soto) to take unorthodox approaches in their fields. cultural and political aspects. making possible their incorporation as important social and political actors. barriadas have been means towards social integration. The paper concludes answering the main question about splintering and integration and presenting the main findings. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were used. The paper first addresses the issue of urban integration in Lima. Therefore. Although the city gradually incorporated El Cercado into its urban grid. as well as by the issues of the local urban debate. to spread the view of the barriadas as the official housing solution for the poor (Calderón. more importantly. it represented a radical shift at that time. private neighbourhoods) are a clear example of urban fragmentation. increasing its primacy and concentrating economic and political power. Lima grew.g. social equality and respect of differences which are at the base of modern societies. but while telecommunications was completely privatized the water sector was not. Salazar Bondy (2002) described this in Lima la horrible in 1964. In common with many other cities of Latin America. Additionally. Unable to cope with the growing housing shortage. respectively. ‘‘path breaking” legislation was launched in 1961. Lima is the fifth most populous Latin American metropolis. failing to create a class of local industrial capitalists. The fifth section discusses the results relating them to the issues raised in Splintering Urbanism.2 more organized and in some ways. which are not equivalent. 2005). for different reasons. the Barriadas Law had the unintended consequence to promote the expansion of barriadas. As the seat of Peru’s elite. The barriadas of 5 The law was inspired by a group of progressive urban professionals working for a conservative Minister. more thought-provoking3 than in other cities of Latin America. After several years of political pressure from barriadas settlers for the regularization of their land. 48). On the other hand. The fragmentation of urban space resulting from walled. Segregation is not intrinsically negative if it allows difference without exclusion. But Lima has been less able to provide housing. During the first half of the 20th century. functional. linked to the city only by the road to Canta and to Atocongo. Allowing the recognition of the legal status of barriadas and promoting self-help.A. Urban fragmentation has been a historic feature of Lima since its Spanish foundation in 1535. Dietz and Tanaka (2002) mention that although in Peru rural–urban migration took place. objects of frequent and fierce debate in the media. denouncing the elite’s invented ‘‘Colonial Arcadia” and Lima’s incapacity to listen to the ‘‘real Peru”. stronger. respectively. 1998. in these two sectors the contradictions.C Turner). helping to grasp the different circumstances and effects of the reforms of two sectors in the same city. In the context of a city with approximately 50% of its population living in poverty as Lima. in which the barriada has a prominent role. The scarcity of industrial jobs contributed to the vast extent of the barriadas. . South and East). South and East Cones. according to their geographic position. Barriadas have been larger. 3 Lima’s orderly and spacious barriadas and the processes going on inside them have inspired academics in the field of social housing (John F. import substitution industrialization was modest and arrived late. the social divisions remained and did not change much after the independence from Spain in 1824. Lima grew rapidly due to rural–urban migration after the 1940s. 2005a). To position Lima’s reforms I have used international sources from different disciplinary perspectives. 2 Driant (1991) mentions the easy availability of (public) land. These sectors are the most contested and politically sensitive urban sectors in Lima. according to the Peruvian Institute of Statistics and Informatics (INEI. and services than other cities of the region.

the longterm trends toward democratization going on in Peruvian society. In Lima. The gated neighbourhoods that have proliferated in the periphery of many Latin American metropolises have not developed in Lima. boutiques. In this context. privatization. On the other hand. (c) the promotion work of the radical left. claiming that the new strategies. it is relevant to explore if the claims of Splintering Urbanism regarding processes of urban disintegration as a result of neo-liberal reforms are occurring in Lima. bringing widespread poverty. and a state that has become increasingly irrelevant for much of its citizenry” (Dietz. The ‘‘fight for water” became very political and the main reason for protest marches and rallies of the organized population7 (Zolezzi and Calderón. Local researchers argue that a new middle class – of informal entrepreneurs and migrant origin – is emerging in the Cones. Since barriadas have been widely considered as ‘the’ housing alternative for the poor. 1991). 2003). Matos Mar (1984) vividly described these processes. 2004. chronic inflation. barriadas became one of the most organized sectors of the city. processes of privatization and deregulation were launched and the largest public enterprises were rapidly sold. 1991). a rapid expansion of the class of micro-entrepreneurs. is hardly present. Fujimori inaugurated a new style in politics. Fernández-Maldonado / Geoforum 39 (2008) 1884–1896 this period. 210). but to a much lesser extent. created as a self-managed community in 1971. but highly contradictory. IDB and the World Bank forced governments to change the economic model and to adopt Structural Adjustment Policies (SAPs). 1991). which resulted in the diminishing of col6 Villa El Salvador.M. 1996). a persistent concentration of wealth in the top decile of the population. was not broadly democratic. DESCO. 1996). where 98. All this produced ‘‘a visible increase in income inequality. pp. 2002). for two reasons. hyperinflation. 206). especially between the central area and the Cones. p. p. 156) lists five factors for the mobilizations of the 1970s: (a) the size of barriadas and their many problems. 7 Stokes (1991. . 8 Referring to this Ugarteche wrote: ‘‘The world of white people finished and with it. . The processes of neo-liberal economic reforms occurring across Latin America and the developing world were (radically) initiated in Peru from that date. The deep crisis was accompanied by ‘‘. planned and supported by the state. property and human lives. the structural adjustments promoted by the World Bank. physical and functional integration.8 The new political order apparently resolved the conflicts between the electoral left and the conservative elite. The elite has not moved from its traditional quarters in modern central Lima. while some attract public from the whole city. At the level of the whole city. The solidarity among the poor. What emerged from this cultural opening. political assassinations and electricity black outs became part of ordinary life.6% of them live (El Comercio. which made people aware of the extent of the socio-cultural changes. 2004). The IMF. involved radical public-spending cutbacks. to the south and south-east. In this context. while the barriada movement virtually disappeared during the 1990s. insecurity and violence. Grassroots associations shifted their concerns on basic services towards survival: a dense network of associations dedicated to food and health issues emerged (Riofrío. deregulation and liberalization of trade and finance. 10 Modern Lima consists of 12 districts developed after 1920 as urban expansions from the traditional centre towards the sea. These policies. the rest were dispersed in the Cones. 2002). Household salaries shrank dramatically: the average salary in 1994 was only half what it was in 1980 in real terms. affecting all sectors of society. . Utilities reform in Latin America The 1980s in Latin America were characterized by very low or negative economic growth. In Desborde Popular y Crisis del Estado (Popular Overflow and Crisis of the State). political. with ‘‘islands of modernity” addressing the residential. Researchers visiting old barriadas after many years are enthusiastic about their levels of consolidation (Chambers. causing widespread damage to infrastructure. Turner. discothèques. 2002. ‘‘Lima’s districts tend to be drawn along clear class and income lines” (Dietz and Tanaka. merging elements of the Andean culture with Lima’s urban culture.9% of the B (middle-income) sector lived in modern Lima in 2004. (Riofrío.1886 A. The 1980s were extremely unsettled. high macroeconomic instability and fiscal crisis. the second generation of migrants was making visible advances in Lima’s social and cultural life. this can be seen at two levels. p. The application of a ‘‘shock therapy” to the economy eventually succeeded in stopping the hyperinflation. their lifestyle. stabilizing and restructuring the macro economy. lective actions and social movements (Dietz and Tanaka. 3. political violence was escalating during the 1980s as insurgent groups took control of larger areas of Peru. 1994). but especially a way of social interaction” (1994. 1–2). grassroots associations and social movements flourished in barriadas. On the other hand. branches of universities and clinics – have been located there to attend to the demand of the ‘‘new consumers”. Demographic figures apparently confirm this: only 52. 1998. Many private urban facilities – large commercial malls. 2005. there are visible trends toward their social. are producing trends towards Lima’s urban integration. Focused on local issues and demanding basic services. In the face of economic hardships. Lima became the centre of operations: bombings. a brutal insurgency movement. The investiture of Fujimori as president in July 1990 represented a new political landmark. promoting the development of radical views (Stokes. driven by the huge socio-cultural transformations. their way of driving politics and the economy. IMF and IDB increased poverty and inequalities became more acute. However. cinemas. however. Lima has developed visible socio-spatial divisions. specialized stores. (b) the (clientelistic) promotion of citizen participation by the military government. the physical situation of barriadas formed in the last 10 years is increasingly problematic. Meanwhile. Barriada mobilization eventually succeeded and improved access to infrastructural services (Riofrío. reduction of the public sector. is the best example of the participative model promoted in this period (Riofrío. On the one hand. commercial and recreational demands of the elite are also seen in Lima. 1991). the growth of a massive and complex urban informal sector. authoritarianism and hierarchical attitudes remained (Ugarteche. Their social situation is also worrying. the recent fragmentation trends observed in Latin American metropolises. a trend especially visible in four barriadas districts (El Comercio. In this unmanageable situation. But as mentioned earlier. economic and cultural ‘‘rules of the game”. the deterioration of basic services was not the main worry of the terrorized and impoverished citizens. Roberts (2005) has remarked on the ambiguous and contradictory effects of globalization on Latin American cities. This worsened the economic recession producing a vicious circle of poverty and violence. 1985). Along with the crisis of the state. initiatives and parallel mechanisms of the emergent popular sectors were altering the conventional social. so evident during the 1980s’ crisis. different from the traditional middle class living within modern Lima10 (Matos Mar. and (d) the increasing discontent with military rule. But while the oldest barriada areas are gradually integrating into mainstream urban dynamics. At barriada level. mainly implemented in the 1990s. In the late 1980s. (d) the worsening economic conditions. and a stagnation 9 Roberts (2005) mentions the Peruvian Mesas de Concertación (Roundtables for Reaching Agreements) as an example of popular participation. widespread poverty and the fear of terrorism seemed to have unified the nation. not only improved physically but also organized greatly due to the promotion of residents’ participation6 (Riofrío. longterm trends towards social equalization are contributing to the urban integration of barriadas.9 However. 2004). soaring external debts.

13 Telephone service was concentrated in Lima’s wealthy neighbourhoods. Porto Alegre (UNDP. 15 The decision to sell the two companies to Telefónica was not wise for the sake of competition. because of the higher charges. 2000). p. 12 1887 involvement and neo-liberal policies would be leading to by-passed spaces in disadvantaged areas. The Telecommunications Law of 1993 established the free market as the new model for the sector.12 Castro (2007) has studied the strong link between pro-poor policies and private sector involvement that inspired the reforms of the 1990s and how this ‘‘unlikely couple” was brought together. The public utilities. Peru had 2. . However. 2002). These mixed results illustrate that the dilemmas of the provision of basic services for all should move beyond the privatization debate. 2000). 2006) and Bogotá (Gilbert. 2006) and closely related to strong regulation in both water and telecommunications sectors. The privatization and liberalization of key economic sectors was a central element of the Latin American reforms. following the formula of the ITU (International Telecommunications Union).. but faulty practices of the privatized utility have also angered local citizens in Buenos Aires (Vila. Fernández-Maldonado / Geoforum 39 (2008) 1884–1896 or increase of the informal proletariat” (Portes and Hoffman. while regulation has been weak in most countries. The large tariff increases that followed privatization produced great user discontent. 17 150.00) but to get a new line was very expensive ($1500) and demanded an average of 118 months of waiting time. The experience of Chile in private sector involvement is. However. 2003. For example. The logic behind it is that free market competition will extend access to services by lowering the prices. in Argentina. Teledensity16 also increased but not as expected. A worldknown example is the ‘‘War on Water” in 2000. The two state-owned companies – which served Lima and the rest of the country – had an excessive number of employees14 with low productivity. The prevailing ideology in policy circles associated expanding the networks for the poor with the privatization of the utilities. More than two thirds of telecoms in Latin America were privatized. In the introduction. which is generally considered a ‘‘natural monopoly”. however. p. on the other hand.000 users (more than 9% of the total users) canceled their telephone lines in Lima during the second half of 1998. This is an extremely high figure considering that the company’s scope of operations did not include Lima” (Torero et al. These two cities are also world examples of good governance at city level. 41). it should have had 11 lines per 100 inhabitants at that time (Torero et al. p. The ‘‘iconic resistance movements in the Southern cities” has. the processes developed differently in each sector. and protect the users. The universalization of telecommunication services in the whole metropolitan area is established by law. Regulation has an essential role to promote efficiency. is another example of protest movements as a consequence of undemocratic practices after privatization (Castro. the institution to regulate the sector and promote free competition. The effects of these two combined features – better quality at higher prices – can be observed in the evolution of fixed phone teledensity in Peru (black in Fig. 2000. p. The modernization of the networks improved the quality of the service. Telefónica became the largest company in the country. Tucuman. 754).7 lines per hundred inhabitants – one of the lowest of the Latin American region. as a consequence of a recession period linked to the Asian crisis and El Niño phenomenon. This sector is therefore. ‘‘Entel and CPT had an excessive number of employees as compared to the companies’ scale of activities. the two utilities were sold to Telefónica de España.. The previous formula. Supervisory Body for Private Investment in Telecommunications). 5) themed issue on ‘‘Pro-Poor Water” policies around the world. 2004). including barriadas. This neo-liberal pro-poor rhetoric is precisely the opposite of Graham and Marvin’s argument in Splintering Urbanism. 1). Service quality was also remarkably poor: 40% of phone calls were not completed due to congestion because of the low capacity and obsolete network technology (Torero et al. . successful (UNDP. 16 Teledensity is the number of telephone lines in service per hundred inhabitants. Laurie mentions that: ‘‘The dominance of the private sector participation (PSP) debate has meant that in recent years very little attention has been given to the diverse forms of public sector management around the world and the pro-poor techniques that have developed through these experiences” (2007. in serious need of efficient administration. there was even a decline. not subject to free competition. does not apply to the water networks sector. the ENTEL office in Lima eventually had as many as 3700 employees. because the service became too expensive.15 on the condition that networks would be expanded and modernized. Monthly charges were cheap (US$2.A. correct distortions. were at the front of the changes. in which private sector 11 This is the second largest proportion in the world. Since water is indispensable to life. The telecommunications reform in Lima Before the reforms the Peruvian telecommunications sector had extremely low coverage. In this context. p. Therefore.11 but free competition was delayed because the private utilities demanded a period of exclusivity after privatization. Lima represents a good Latin American example to explore the argument of Splintering Urbanism. This corroborates the conclusion of Geoforum’s (2007. 755). This was rapidly met: the basic networks now cover the whole metropolitan area and are almost completely digital. But after that period there was very little increase. (b) free competition and (c) (independent) regulation of the free competition (ITU. Wilder and Romero (2005) observed no efficiency or sustainability gains in private sector involvement in four urban areas. in Cochabamba. 4. the ruling political party during the García administration (1985–1990). Although in Mexico the public sector’s regulatory capacity was not as weak as in Argentina or Bolivia. 14 It was known that these two companies provided employment to political clients of APRA. This is because the deployment of the networks is so expensive that having two competing and parallel systems would not lead to the reduction of rates but to increased social costs. examples of efficient public utilities that provide water for all. due to reduced tariffs. 38. The public sector was considered incapable of functioning with the necessary efficiency. In late 1998. after the US. Bolivia (UNDP. Telefónica is obliged to provide telephone services and (ADSL lines for) Internet connectivity to any household or business that asks for it within Lima’s urban area. Teledensity in Metropolitan 13 It was estimated that according to the regional standards and per capita GDP.. . which suggests a strong correlation between the management of the basic services and the governance of the whole city. This also happened in Lima: telecommunications were swiftly privatized but the water sector has remained in public hands. The telecommunications sector was widely reformed. 2007). 2007. Consequently. forbidding state involvement in its operations. 2006). which includes (a) privatization of the sector. It also created OSIPTEL (Organismo Supervisor de Inversión Privada en Telecomunicaciones. During the three initial years (1994–1997) teledensity almost doubled.17 Since 2003 a small improvement can be observed. however. regulation has been extremely weak in most countries. 2007) are. poor regulation in the water sector has generally led to political conflicts. severely weakened the idea of the private sector as champion of the poor in the water sector (Laurie. however. In 1993.M. 11). The abundant literature on water conflicts in Latin America has mainly focused on popular resistance to privatization. the privatization of the water networks sector in Latin America has been implemented at a much smaller scale than in the telecommunications sector. the one with the greatest assets and highest revenues. In 1994.

2005b) the average penetration of fixed telephony in households of Metropolitan Lima was 54. and to income uncertainty. Mobile telephony. Evolution of Peruvian teledensity 1993–2006 (elaborated with data from OSIPTEL. Discontented consumers . Lima (Fig. of mobile telephony 34. Concentration was very weak among poor households.000 monthly accounts19 (OSIPTEL. the universalization of telecommunications services in Lima still has a long way to go. wireless).8%. Despite the improvements. while 62. Therefore.7% had no telecommunication services.1% and of Internet 5. 2007). The low existing rates are related to the high tariffs in relation to the (low) average levels of income. Fig. Haiti. Chile had four times the teledensity of Peru. from which 4. Fernández-Maldonado / Geoforum 39 (2008) 1884–1896 Fig. cable.1%. After the arrival of Claro (América Móviles) in 2005. and Bolivia. of whom 27. 1.85 million subscriptions in Lima in 2006. shows a sustained growth and is the reason for the swift increase in total teledensity. the telephone charges increased approximately every 3 months. a concentration of the telecommunications services (in the higher income groups) appeared. compared with just 598.18 however.25 million were prepaid accounts. In 2003 it was less than half the teledensity rate of the largest countries of the region and lower than other Andean countries such as Ecuador 18 Telephony refers to the provision of telephone (voice) communications services by means of different technologies (wireline.2% Internet connection.9% had a fixed telephone line.6% had mobile phone and 0. According to the 2004 National Home Survey (INEI. Until 2001. Only Cuba.1888 A. Honduras and Nicaragua had lower teledensity rates. Since 35% of households had none of the three services. 2. Peruvian teledensity is still one of the lowest in the Latin American region (see Table 1). Lima’s strong socio-economic differences are reflected in the effective access to telecommunications.M. 2007). There were 4. 14. the prices of mobile phones and pre-paid mobile telephony decreased. 2) is almost double the rate of the whole country. 2007). and presents the same trends observed at national level. Evolution of teledensity in Metropolitan Lima 1998–2006 (no available disaggregated statistics in fixed telephony before 1998 and in mobile telephony before 2003) (elaborated with data from OSIPTEL. 19 Pre-paid schemes are attractive because they allow the customer to control the amount spent on calls while also being able to receive calls.

(2000) analyzed the impact of the telecommunications reforms on the welfare of urban consumers in Lima and concluded that the reforms have led to universal coverage. 1999).8% once a week and 10. 8. undermaintenance and under-expansion seen in many developing countries’ utilities (UNDP. 5 shows that the districts of central Lima are settled in former agricultural land. which demands high production costs. 2007). with data from ITU.. Their detailed analysis of per capita consumer welfare by socio-economic level showed that the high and middle-income categories were clearly better off. Fig.. 22 The report does not specify if the figure of Internet access is per week or month.21 The average charges (March 2007) of the local telephone service (monthly charges plus 150 pulses. the most important goal of the reform has not been achieved. The water sector reform Lima is a water-scarce area. however. Lima’s telecommunications show a visible divide. Consequently. at best. for whom the fixed charges represent a small portion of total bill. water supply has long been a problem for Lima. 3 and 4). while the networks wasted significant amounts of the water (Alcázar et al. In this way. The weak regulation was unable to balance the hegemonic position of Telefónica to get a more sensible tariff structure to protect the users. 2007). The findings were presented to the Public Ministry and 4 years later charges were made against Telefónica and OSIPTEL’s former president (Corvera Gálvez et al. 2007) and cybercafés. which have become neighbourhood facilities (FernándezMaldonado. while there were marginal improvements of consumer welfare for the vulnerable groups. SEDAPAL (Servicio de Agua Potable y Alcantarillado de Lima.4 17. while mobile telephony and Internet almost doubled (to 66. Despite these trends in fixed telephony. The Rodrich Commission of the Congress (February 2002) found that Telefónica charged excessive prices. the privatization attempt did not prosper. which explains the public dissatisfaction with the reforms (Torero et al.23 Therefore. but current tariffs still remain high for the average citizen. 2006) affected Lima too. but the financial accessibility of the poorest households to these services has worsened. are approximately at the level of 1996: $20 (OSIPTEL. however.1 Argentina Venezuela Paraguay Colombia 39.1889 A. those in low and very low socioeconomic levels. In the summer. 2006). exclusion of the poorest from home connections. The existing trends toward the diminishing of tariffs promoted by OSIPTEL. Chillón. while most peripheral barriadas have been established in areas which never had natural water. but in winter there is not enough water. Therefore. Lima’s Drinking Water and Sewerage Service) became increasingly unable to meet the growing water demand.5. and especially after 2003.2 40. The water quality had decreased so much that it became unsafe to drink. and Lurín. the reform of the telecommunication sector has improved the efficiency but not equity in the access.24 Additionally. which is especially worrying for Peru. respectively) (INEI. pre-paid schemes to accommodate their needs. The opposite happened with users with high consumption habits. The monthly bill is composed of a fixed amount plus per-minute local or long distance charges. which will increase Lima’s water problems (The Economist. which reproduces the socio-economic divisions of the city.1 m3 per second. with an extremely low average rate of precipitation: less than 15 mm of rainfall a year (Alcázar et al. 2000). may increase up to 400 m3 per second. 60.1 Ecuador Bolivia Peru 31. 2007). The vicious circle of under-financing. In Internet connectivity a similar situation exists: access is hindered by the monthly charges and costs of the necessary hardware.8 and 4.9% once a month or every 2 months (INEI. those situated on steep hills need pump systems. some issues described in Splintering Urbanism apply in Lima in the telecommunications sector. tariffs began to decrease slightly in 2001.5 32. approved by the Congress in September 2006 (El Comercio.6 38.05 per 100 inhabitants) (OSIPTEL.4 34. occupying almost completely the valleys of three rivers Rímac. the increase was not compensated by the lower per-minute rates. 2004) even in the most distant informal neighbourhoods (see Figs. In such a way. 2007). repeatedly protested against Telefónica. and that OSIPTEL had not fulfilled its functions to protect consumers. Lima is relatively well served by public telephones (1. who must use out-of-the-home services or. . Fernández-Maldonado / Geoforum 39 (2008) 1884–1896 Table 1 Total teledensity in Latin American countries in 2003 Country Teledensity (lines per 100 inhabitants) Country Teledensity (lines per 100 inhabitants) Country Teledensity (lines per 100 inhabitants) Chile Brazil Uruguay Mexico 73. Lima’s geographic location. 000 claims against Telefónica in OSIPTEL in 2006) was channeled by the Commission of Defense of Consumers of the Congress. welfare was even below pre-privatization levels.22 (INEI. For low-income users. the major water supplier. people use public telephones and collective Internet services. These have very low and irregular flows (an average of 31. Apart from the difficulties associated with expanding the networks towards the arid areas where most barriadas are located. Present Metropolitan Lima is extended into the desert. especially regarding the management of infrastructural services to be offered as commodities within supposedly free markets. In March 2007. which has the world’s largest extent of tropical glaciers. whose president presented a bill to eliminate the fixed monthly charges. 1999).2 22. SUNASS (Superintendencia Nacional de Servicios de Saneamiento National Agency of Water and Sanitation Services). water flow of coastal rivers will become more irregular.3 Source: Plunckett (2004).7 47. To cope with this situation. average penetration has not increased..8%. opening the sector to private capital and creating a regulatory body. and the long neglect of 24 The glaciers of the Andes are melting fast.3% uses Internet once a day. Due to the deep economic crisis of the 1980s. For those in the very low-income category. the average penetration of fixed telephony in households of Metropolitan Lima was the same as in 2004 (54. the flow of the Rímac. In 59. Given the limited natural capacity of the surface water and falling groundwater tables. 2005b. The result is the virtual 20 Consumer discontent (more than 140. 21 The tariff decrease in 2001 could have been greater. 2007). The water system was in a state of near collapse when Fujimori was elected president in 1990: there was severe rationing and frequent interruptions of the service. low-income users were very much affected with the new tariffs..1%). Torero et al.1% and 10. so requiring electricity. 23 This situation is linked to the structure of tariffs. As an indication: from the total users in Lima. and were engaged in monopolist practices and dishonest competition. may reduce this problem in the future. equivalent to 102 calls). respectively).2 48. This suggests that the tariffs are still too high in relation to the average income. However.7% of the households in Lima at least one member went to cybercafés for Internet connectivity in March 2007. 2006). water from the Rímac is heavily contaminated with metals from mines in the highlands. The General Law of Sanitation Services was launched in 1994. 28. 5. Fixed charges increased sharply after privatization.20 Due to pressure from OSIPTEL.M.

3. It shows that coverage has improved both in absolute and relative terms but there is still a long way to the universalization of water services. there has been consensus among politicians that water services should remain in public hands. Fernández-Maldonado / Geoforum 39 (2008) 1884–1896 Fig. After heavy debates. In 2006 there were 1 million people in Lima without water connection (León. February 2007).M. However. SUNASS’ main objective became eliminating tariff distortions.1890 A. Extending the networks to the peripheral areas of Lima became a crucial mission for SEDAPAL.. striving for the efficiency of the utilities. February 2007). The cholera epidemic that affected Peru at the end of the 1980s – causing economic damages estimated at three times 25 Since that time. Fig. All candidates to the 2006 presidential elections rejected the privatization of SEDAPAL. 1999). 2006). 4. Without water but with Internet connection in Lima’s recently formed barriadas (taken in Villa Maria del Triunfo. . Internet services in Lima’s periphery (taken in Villa Maria del Triunfo. for a private investor to have a reasonable return of capital. it was decided to carry out a process of reform and regulation. 6 illustrates the utility’s continuous race to reach complete coverage in Metropolitan Lima since 1980. the continuous formation of peripheral informal settlements makes this an overwhelming task. Fig. the national expenditures in water and sanitation during the whole decade – raised the awareness of the significance of water.25 SEDAPAL became the responsibility of the national government. It would have meant very high charges for the water service. the networks obstructed this process (Alcázar et al. stimulated by mobilizations and street demonstrations against privatization. The figures from the last two national censuses of population and housing (1993 and 2005) give an idea of the improvements in water coverage between these two moments (see Table 2).

Evolution of water coverage in Metropolitan Lima 1980–2006 (Source: León. with more recently formed barriadas. SEDAPAL partly organizes this system. 2001. Los Olivos. 6. Independencia and San Juan de Miraflores are also in this category. which emerged after the 1970s.18 1. San Martin de Porres.3 4.34 0. Trucks sell water from $2.64 1. Campaigns against wasting water and bans on watering public and private lawns generally follow. However. water cuts and rationing have to be implemented.1891 A. A study of water in Peru by the Pan-American Health Organization concluded that: ‘‘Evaluating household expenditures according to the different types of supply. These two variables depend on water production and distribution. 2005). (b) the middle-aged barriadas districts. p. and (d) the most distant districts.12 12. Not surprisingly. but inside the premises Public standpipes Water trucks Water wells (ground water sources) Surface water sources Other source The million people without connection to the water network live in 21 peripheral districts of Metropolitan Lima (León.43 0.03% in this period. with rates of connection between 79% and 50%. with less than 25% of households with home water connections. which still have relatively few inhabitants.50 1. 4. 2006).81 8. .20 up to $3 per m3.85 3. 17). The production of the plants is influenced by the environment. Water is produced in La Atarjea and Chillón treatment plants and many water wells (SEDAPAL. Since the cholera epidemic.M. water availability not only depends on connection to the networks but also on water pressure and the regularity of the supply. which coincide with the most recently formed barriadas of the three Cones. Those without connection buy water from trucks. Water connection (which includes 1 + 2 + 3) improved from 81.03 6. Fig.93 3.65 8. Fernández-Maldonado / Geoforum 39 (2008) 1884–1896 Table 2 Evolution of water provision in Lima (not including Callao) according to the 1993 and 2005 National Census of Population and Housing (INEI. providing water to 341 of the 800 trucks that sell water in Lima (León. 66. which is then kept in plastic or concrete containers outside the house. In 2005. 2006). with a rate of connection between 49% and 25%. which suggests their achieved level of consolidation. households buying from water vendors consume much less water. If there is no rain in the Andes during the summer. 6. Chillón and Lurín. 5. Fig. 2. 5.78% to 89. which represents (up to) nine times SEDAPAL’s social tariff (León.01 78. Fig. 7 shows the advances of home connection to water services according to the 1993 and 2005 censuses in each district of Lima. four areas can be distinguished: (a) the better served central districts with more than 80% home connection. its three rivers and valleys: Rímac. 2006). 2006). we found that households who buy water from trucks spend amounts similar to households with home connections” (OPS. 7. as in 2004. 1993 and 2005) Types of water provision 1993 (%) 2005 (%) 1. (c) the more peripheral districts. Connection to public network within the home Connection to public network out of the home. Lima.19 7. The old barriadas districts of Comas.

2005).1892 A. only the central districts. Fig.33 per m3 in 2006). 8 shows the average volume of billed water per dwelling in the 49 districts of Metropolitan Lima in January 2007. the utility developed autonomous projects to supply water to more than 337. the rest were subsidized by the state (León. had as a main feature the participation of the residents in the management of the system (SEDAPAL/WSP. The districts with more than 27 m3 of household consumption per month (in black) coincide with the most consolidated areas of the city.26 The primary system has six trunk water mains which begin at La Atarjea and Chillón plants. and (b) a block tariff. From there. 2005). were built in the communities.000 inhabitants in the most peripheral areas of Lima.50 per m3 in December 2006. conceived as a progressive system until SEDAPAL connected the networks. provision. which cover an area of approximately 2 km2. This system. illustrating Lima’s typical centre-periphery segregation. Fernández-Maldonado / Geoforum 39 (2008) 1884–1896 Fig. The reforms of the water sector have produced important improvements. 2006). the increment of tariffs stipulated by the law has been delayed. (SEDAPAL. while average cost was $0. The quality of the service has increased as well as the efficiency of SEDAPAL.27 However. Evolution of the percentage of dwellings with water connection inside the home according to the 1993 and 2005 Census (elaborated with data from INEI. with pipes that connected to public standpipes. The districts with the best water supply have metered connections. 1993 and 2005). The low water tariffs are explained as 27 Domestic tariffs are divided in to two categories: (a) a social tariff for users with a connection outside the home and in public standpipes (in informal neighbourhoods). The average water tariff was $0. since they are not cost-effective. 2006). . The quality of the service appears as a combination of both technical and political considerations. Water distribution is done through a set of network systems. Different water supplies and water pressure in combination with different habits and income result in different rates of water consumption per district. water was distributed individually using hosepipes.60 (SEDAPAL. Water tanks. The first block (0–20 m3) equals the social tariff ($0. Villa El Salvador and Pachacamac have 24 h supply. Additionally. which reduced its staff to half. Only 11% of households paid more than the real water costs. The districts with the worst water supply belong to the Chillón-Comas trunk water mains. The tariff structure was designed using cross-subsidies. supplied by trucks. Most districts experience daily water interruptions. But the unsound tariff policy remains as one of the main problems. SEDAPAL would not be interested in incorporating these systems. Between 1993 and 2001. 7. A study of water tariffs in Latin American cities points out that the three largest Peruvian cities are among the cities with the lowest tariffs (ADERASA. Water pressure and interruptions are automatically controlled at the level of the distribution networks. in which the high consumers subsidize the poor. for whom there is a social tariff.M. 2006). which is divided in to five sub-categories according to the volume of water used. SEDAPAL has carried out non-traditional projects for water 26 These do not include the water systems of four beach districts which have their own administration. and tariffs remain below the overall costs of operation and maintenance.

2005). residents from barriadas organized a movement (‘‘People without Water”) and demonstrated in favor of the privatization of SEDAPAL 28 An example: in January 2006. Metered connections. in which ‘‘resources and network infrastructure tend to concentrate overwhelmingly on the needs of social and economic elites. According to the law. 2005). Only water supply does not completely conform to this picture. 2005). and water losses due to leakages in old pipes (Defensoría del Pueblo. On the other hand. because the ‘‘infrastructure ideal of universal and integrated infrastructural systems” was never really applied: endemic poverty and social inequality constrained the universalization of the basic services. These unusual protests. 2006. spaces for foreign direct investors and the emerging consumer spaces that are being packaged out of parts of . such as increasing rates. p. 9). Public opinion is unhappy with SEDAPAL’s functioning. In Splintering Urbanism. the dual circuits of premium networks and excluded places that Graham and Marvin (2001) describe in their work have traditionally applied to the water sector. the frequent water cuts. increased remarkably after the reforms but the projected rates are still not met (SEDAPAL. Average volume of billed water per dwelling in January 2007 (elaborated with data from SEDAPAL. result of ‘‘governmental opportunism”. Fig. published in Telecommunications and the City (1996). prefer poor services and low prices over taking politically costly actions. Those without connection are understandably tired of fetching water and buying expensive water from truckers. Further investigation revealed that the protests were co-organized by the Instituto de Libre Empresa (Institute for Free Enterprise) and the Coordinadora por la Inversión y Trabajo (Coordinating Agency for Investment and Employment). On the other hand. But the political pressure to maintain low tariffs is becoming a bottleneck for the utility. what suggests that they had been ‘‘inspired” by interested parties. Another important aspect that remains problematic is the level of non-billed water. In general terms. flow and dimension. In Lima. the existence of networks of different quality. focusing the subsidies exclusively on the poorest groups (Defensoría del Pueblo. describing the process in which the changing context is eventually leading to the rise of premium networks and by-passed spaces. The announcement triggered such heavy criticism in the media that President Toledo declared that ‘‘in no way will such increase be approved”. it is relevant to ask up to what extent are the processes described in Splintering Urbanism occurring in Lima? The issues raised by Graham and Marvin are clearly linked with the national and professional context in which the authors developed their ideas. whose benefits are only seen in the mid. in which governments ‘‘which have relatively short time horizons. Lima is characterized by a chaotic and segmented water distribution system.29 billions in the 2006–2011 period for the expansion and maintenance of the networks. Graham and Marvin apply this rationale to other infrastructural sectors. the neo-liberal telecommunications reforms promote a dual circuit which eventually leads to social and spatial polarization within cities (see Fig. although rationing and low water pressure are more frequent in poor areas. SEDAPAL calculated that it needed to invest $1. 6. 2007). The next day SEDAPAL withdrew its proposal.28 The low tariffs threaten the sustainability of the water system. Users with home connections are discontented with the low quality of tap water. As a chaotic and segregated city. water coverage and water connection inside the home show this centre-periphery dichotomy which privileges those living in the central quarters. Discussion: the reforms in terms of urban integration In the context of Lima’s historic urban fragmentation and trends towards urban integration described in Section 1. promote water inequalities. If in 1991 this percentage was 43% of the totally produced water.A.31% (SEDAPAL. which would represent 136% of the existing tariffs. clandestine connections in peripheral areas. Although interconnection is not necessary for a good distribution system. the spatial pattern of access to the water networks reproduces the patterns of spatial and socio-economic segregation of Lima. In this context. the initial situation is completely different. In this way. In 2005. 2005). Water consumption. in December 2006 it was 38. In this process. Splintering Urbanism adequately sketches the (new) situation of urban fragmentation that characterizes the large cities of Latin America. 2005). stating that it would not present another proposal until SUNASS revised its regulatory frame and the tariff regulations (Guerra. In 2005. however. SEDAPAL announced plans to increase tariffs according to the SUNASS formula. both authors had thoroughly studied the situation of the telecommunications sector.M. 2006). This is due to low levels of metered connections. 334).and long-term” (Marmanillo. were short-lived and did not prosper. Fernández-Maldonado / Geoforum 39 (2008) 1884–1896 1893 (Lama. Great Britain – which during the Thatcher administration radically applied neo-liberal principles and privatized its public services – suffered many negative effects of these political-economic reforms. the dual circuits (of premium networks and excluded spaces) that would characterize the new situation in urbanism have been a historic feature. despite the wide media coverage. 8. and the low water pressure. A study of the national ombudsman concluded that the tariffs are a key element for the efficiency of the water system and recommended SUNASS to revise its tariff regulation. 2006). however. necessary to discourage water waste. the resources should come from increased tariffs and public–private partnerships (SEDAPAL.

where low-income people get cheap telephone. Several projects and plans have been launched since the 1990s to extend the networks and have benefited the peripheral barriadas. the metropolis” (Graham and Marvin. The dependence on government funds makes water investments very volatile. p. has been only partially implemented.1894 A. Analyzing in more detail and separately the impacts of the reforms of water and telecommunications.30 Since 2000. in which tariff convergence and cross-subsidies had an important role. In the 1990s. Another valid question is whether universal coverage automatically leads to urban integration. 296). It is not evident. .premium networks Bypassing infra. This constitutes a positive impulse to the integration of barriada residents into the general dynamics of the city. The intended reform of the water sector. study places. SEDAPAL is more efficient but tariffs still do not reflect the real costs and the indiscriminate cross-subsidies 30 Peru was the initial focus of the epidemic. computing and Internet services. 2006). when the Treasury became the only source of the funds. weak regulation and little competition has led to excessive tariffs for telephones services in relation to the situation of most households. Bogotá or Santiago. the government spent 0. The arrival of the basic services represents important thresholds for the integration of the peripheral areas. recreation facilities. They provide information and communication and online services that replace traditional urban services that were never present in barriadas. 9. significant contradictions appear. Section 2 showed that the 1990s reforms have produced an improvement in terms of coverage of both water and telecommunications networks at metropolitan level. however. especially for those living in the most peripheral areas. Bogotá and Rio de Janeiro. urban services arrive (many) years after people settle in the land. post offices. They significantly contribute to the process of urban consolidation. In the context of Lima’s socio-economic divide. youth centres. It seems more a matter of political will. but this decreased after 2000. which spread to neighbouring countries. training centres (Fernández-Maldonado. These elitedriven processes have evidently produced the segregation trends that partly characterize Lima’s recent urban development. The utility cannot guarantee sustainable investments due to its insufficient funds. Mexico City. The most dramatic spatial changes have been observed in the first three cities. But since Lima is poor and its involvement in the global economic dynamics is relatively limited. this situation is translated into a telecommunications divide. after the restructuring of the institutions involved in water finance (Marmanillo. the reforms have contributed to the urban integration of the peripheral areas. Mexico City. linked to the low tariffs. A scheme of how trends in telecommunications are underpinning the shift to more socially polarized cities (adapted from Graham and Marvin. Accordingly. and they clearly improve the life of the barriadas’ residents. In telecommunications. In the type of ‘‘reversed” urbanization that characterizes Lima. 1996:236). in which international pressure has likely played a significant role. the implementation of free market 29 To evaluate the position of a city in the global economic dynamics. In this way. practices without satisfactory regulation practices has promoted further socio-economic segregation. The water reforms have not led to the universal coverage of networks in Lima. at an aggregated level. the complete coverage that followed the telecommunications reforms has made possible the establishment of informal cybercafés in all barriadas. The situation in the water sector is much more complex and problematic. In this way. 2004). Fernández-Maldonado / Geoforum 39 (2008) 1884–1896 Affluent social groups and transnational corporations High access to and high demand of ICTs and information services Areas with ‘hot spot’ status CONTEXT: Deindustrialization Restructuring of welfare Liberalization/Privatization Globalization of culture Polarization of job markets SOCIAL AND SPATIAL POLARIZATION WITHIN CITIES Access to . 2005). triggered by the local circumstances around the cholera epidemic. the situation described in Splintering Urbanism regarding the commoditization of the access to infrastructural networks to be offered by the private sector within supposedly free markets applies in Lima.M. if this expansion of the water networks is a consequence of the reforms. such as libraries. followed by Caracas. 2001. there has been a downward trend in SEDAPAL’s investments. In such a way. Therefore. Buenos Aires. 2006). São Paulo and Buenos Aires are considered the most globally connected cities of Latin America. structural trends ‘Cherry picking’ strategies and heavy investment ‘Social dumping’ of groups and areas Disadvantaged groups and people in poverty and unemployment Poor access to and low demand of ICTs and information services Areas with ‘cold spot’ status Fig.5% of GDP on the water sector (at national level). Santiago. but had extended the access up to 90% of the total population in 2006 (SEDAPAL.29 these trends have been much weaker than in São Paulo. On the other hand. reducing poverty levels (Calderón. the poorest groups do not consider the possibility of getting home access to telephone or Internet services. the presence and quality of firms that provide advanced services (to multinational corporations) is considered a good indicator.

the most problematic areas of the city. and thanks to proper regulation. but this did not lead to equity in access. This demands careful and continuous technical and political consideration of the local circumstances to reform the utilities. At an aggregate level. are working against the poor instead of helping them. February 2007). 2005). Good governance practices at the urban level help to achieve this goal. especially considering the state of deep crisis in which the utilities found themselves in 1990. Water is indispensable to life. Weak regulation has led to low levels of access to telecommunications. This is especially critical in water services. In the end. 10). The logic behind the 1990s’ policies was that privatization (or reform. for whom home access to these services is more difficult than before. as the examples of Porto Alegre and Bogotá show. A deeper analysis of the post-reform situation shows contradictory trends. and as such there is a moral obligation for governments to organize its equitable distribution. the existence of a million people without water represents the failure of the city to fulfill its promise of citizenship. Political opportunism has constrained the implementation of the water sector reform according to sound and sustainable economic principles. The million people who get water from informal vendors constitute the most disadvantaged group of the city. Despite the reform. On the one hand. The provision of water and its financial sustainability remains a crucial problem of urban planning in Lima. In the access to water services a centre-periphery spatial pattern is observed which follows the contours of Lima’s socio-spatial segregation. . But it has also made possible the widespread access to telecommunication services in out-of-the-home schemes. The high costs of water provision in combination with the troubles inherent to Lima’s geographic position and the widespread poverty make this a very difficult task. would lead to efficiency. Fernández-Maldonado / Geoforum 39 (2008) 1884–1896 1895 Fig. the recent expansions have mainly benefited the poor peripheral areas. On the other hand. therefore reinforcing it. 10. The regional examples show that sensible policies complemented with carefully targeted subsidies and continuous regulation can be successful to provide water for all. Conclusion The reforms of the water and telecommunications sectors can be considered positive.A. On the other hand. the recent plans do not seem to provide a sustainable solution to the water problem. get the most risky drinking water and spend the highest proportion of their income on water. This shows that the involvement of both the private and public sectors demands strong and accountable regulation. Meanwhile. The diverging paths of utilities reform in Lima illustrate that privatization is not the main issue in the provision of basic services to the poor. They consume much less water. Lima’s problems of governance constrain the necessary regulation to achieve efficiency and equity in access to water services. 7. the reform has negatively influenced the welfare of the very poor. Water and telecommunications in Lima also show that there are no general solutions for the universalization of the services. the utility acquired efficiency. pay the higher prices for it. which has to ask the government for financial resources. as SEDAPAL’s president acknowledges (SEDAPAL. would lead to equity in access. there are still many obstacles to providing water services for the poor. Despite the improvements. The areas outside the network coverage are the most recently formed barriadas. but in the end every city is different and some sectors are much more complex and problematic than others. the reforms have contributed to trends toward urban integration. the telecommunications reform has made possible the universal coverage of the networks but not universal access to the services. In telecommunications. Regulation has failed in both sectors. In the case of water. in the case of water).M. In the case of telecommunications. They are also the ones who live in the most physically vulnerable situations (see Fig. However. the required efficiency has been hindered by political pressure to keep the water tariffs low. Water truck in a recently formed barriada of the South Cone of Lima (taken in Villa María del Triunfo. But the improvements of the 1990s have been accompanied by contradictory trends. Successful experiences in other countries help to acknowledge the key issues and viable alternatives. in which urban fragmentation is more clearly visible. Lima has not been able to overcome the crucial dilemma of cities with high poverty restrictions: self-financed network expansions versus service affordability. The expansion of the networks cannot be financed by the utility. but not impossible. which in turn. the problem of water in Lima is the problem of the city itself.

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