Mexico to auction unused fibre-optic network to increase competition

20 May 2009

According to Reuters, Mexico is planning to auction off two unused portions of a nationwide fibre-optic network in a bid to boost competition in the telecoms sector. Mexican president Felipe Calderon announced the plans, and it is understood that the state-owned power utility, Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), will provide the guidelines for the tender, as well as manage and maintain the sections of the network offered, within 90 days. ‘We’re literally creating a new backbone that will transform telecommunications, increase coverage, accelerate competition and facilitate convergence with massive economic and social benefits for Mexicans,’ Calderon said. With Telefonos de Mexico (Telmex) dominating the fixed line market the move is expected to improve access options for smaller operators and follows suggestions from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) made in March this year. The CFE has sold access to its network since 2007, and according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, in October 2008 it announced that it had signed twelve contracts, covering 300 cities across 31 states; customers reportedly include the SCT, and fixed line operators Alestra, Axtel, Telefonica, B-Tel, Marcatel and Iusatel.