The Mexican government has announced that it has begun the bidding process for the leasing of capacity on the fibre network of state-owned power company Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE), Dow Jones Newswires reports. Under plans announced in May 2009 the state will auction off access to two unused portions of CFE’s fibre-optic network covering approximately 20,000km for a 20-year period; the fibre strands will be divided into three geographic regions covering Mexico’s Pacific coast, the centre of the country, and along the Gulf Coast. Communications and Transport Minister Juan Molinar, announcing the start of the auction process, also revealed that the combined minimum bid for the lines is MXN858.6 million (USD66.4 million). The winning bidders will be announced on 9 June 2010, and it is expected that commercial operations of the fibre infrastructure will begin with 18 months of the auction’s end.
It is widely expected that leasing of CFE’s infrastructure will allow the country’s smaller operators to better compete against fixed line incumbent Telefonos de Mexico (Telmex). The power company already leases capacity on its fibre-optic network to telecommunications firms under a carrier-of-carriers agreement, and already has agreements in place with operators including Alestra, Axtel, Telefonica, B-Tel, Marcatel and Iusatel.