Although there are more mobile phones in the country than people, Guatemala has not been able to fully enter the digital era and this has caused a strong limitation to the development of new media. On the one hand, users who do have complete access to the Internet (less than 40 percent of the population) cannot access at high speed due to the limitations in the use of broadband. The Internet is still expensive in the country, only 19 percent of users have prepaid full Internet access plans in their smartphones, the rest of mobile Internet users need a Wi-Fi connection. For the media, this means that their audience has limited access to innovative platforms like podcasts or YouTube videos.
On the other hand, telephone companies have facilitated access to social networks through the sale of low-cost Internet packages. These combos offer unlimited Facebook and WhatsApp access, but limit the use of other applications and Internet browsing. This combination of Internet access and restrictions means that the media - which depend on the number of visitors captured on their pages - have a very small audience. Without access to the full information, social networks become a field where mainly incomplete information circulates.
This scenario has allowed open television, directed by the monopoly of Angel González, to continue being the media with the most audience in Guatemala. For more than five decades, González's media have maintained an editorial line in favor of the governments of the day. The ongoing fight against corruption in Guatemala, has caused several pro-government groups to actively campaign to erode the credibility of media.
Community radios are an undervalued channel, mainly because they work outside the capital city and because their labour is more renowned at local level. With a potential reach of 8 million people (around half the population) community radios can influence the public opinion of Guatemalans that live in rural areas. At present they are working on a plan to broadcast their content through web applications.
Improving Internet access for Guatemalans would be a solution to the financial crises that different media are facing: If more people have Internet, media will increase their audience. However, the country's structural conditions and government policies have not facilitated such technological innovation and this is not expected to happen soon.