A pan-South American broadband network: It sounds rather ambitious, but that's exactly what Brazil proposed yesterday, during a meeting of the continent's communications ministers. In an address to his colleagues, Brazil's Paulo Bernardo called for the creation of "a ring of South American fiber optic networks" encompassing the entire continent. This "South American solution," he added, would lower the costs of internet and mobile access across the region, benefiting consumers and ISPs alike. "Connection costs for South American users represent on average between 35 and 40 percent of the total price of the service," the minister explained. "An Internet provider in South America pays, in the best of cases, three times more for the connection than in the United States. This situation must change urgently." Bernardo estimates that the initiative would cost about $60 million and could be completed within two years, though it'll likely have to jump through a few more hoops before nearing reality.