According to BNamericas, Subtel has revealed that it expects to launch three universal access projects in the coming months drawing on a subsidy budget of CLP8.94 billion (USD17.2 million). The head of the telecoms regulator, Pablo Bello, told press that the project includes a plan to increase the number of community access centres from 730 to 930. Bello told BNamericas that Subtel intends to use the CLP8.9 billion telecoms development fund (FDT) to provide subsidies that at least match any investment made by concession winners, so the total cost of universal access projects this year is expected to be in the region of CLP18 billion to CLP20 billion.
In separate but related news, Subtel has prioritised three legal changes this year: a bill to make it easier for the government to award concessions to new service providers; a bill to create an autonomous telecoms supervisory body that would free Subtel to concentrate on adapting laws; and a bill to create a permanent panel of experts to work on certain processes such as setting price ceilings. BNamericas states that the concessions bill is under public consultation until 4 July, the telecoms supervisor bill is under public consultation until 24 May, and the panel of experts bill is still being drafted as Subtel awaits the results of a similar project in the electricity sector, though is likely to go to Congress by September.