Cofetel handed more responsibility, but remains tied to comms ministry

10 May 2006

Mexico’s telecoms regulator Cofetel is to gain new regulatory powers thanks to the passing of controversial legislative reforms, according to BNamericas quoting local daily El Universal. Cofetel will now regulate the broadcast sector, including pay-TV, and have increased responsibility regarding radio spectrum. The changes include the provision that broadcasters wishing to offer telecoms services over their current licensed bands must request a separate operating permit from the Secretary for Communications and Transport (SCT). Cofetel will not be responsible for granting concessions or penalising operators, instead it will merely continue to issue opinions to the SCT in regard to such decisions. Cofetel has been widely criticised for not having sufficient autonomy and strength, and many had recommended that it be made autonomous from the SCT, but this will not now happen.

Last month three of Cofetel’s four top officials resigned, citing differences over the planned reforms. Only Cofetel’s president Jorge Arredondo remains in his position, after Abel Hibert, Clara Luz Álvarez and Salma Jalife all resigned having failed to see eye-to-eye over the modification of articles in the new law.