Cablemás, Mexico’s second-largest CATV operator, said it has received local fixed telephony licences covering 13 of the main cities in which it currently operates. The concessions will allow Cablemás to launch triple-play local telephony, video and internet services once long-awaited legislation governing the sale of converged communications and broadcast services is passed. Cablemás says it will begin negotiating interconnection agreements with telcos shortly.
The entry of CATV operators into the telephony market has been restricted to the provision of local and long-distance services via lines leased from traditional telecoms operators. In April 2006 the Secretario de Comunicaciones y Transportes (SCT) issued draft legislation allowing for the provision of direct voice telephony by cable operators under a new triple-play licensing scheme. Two months later, the SCT submitted the so-called ‘convergence bill’ to the federal regulatory improvement commission (Comisión Federal de Mejora Regulatoria — Cofemer). In July Cofermer gave its full support to opening the fixed line telephony market to cable TV providers as quickly as possible with minimum restrictions, saying the SCT should incorporate all recommendations made by Cofetel, including conditions for Telmex to be allowed to offer TV services. Following its approval, the SCT is expected to make any final amendments before presenting the bill to parliament. The president is pushing for the changes to be implemented before his administration ends on 30 November.