State-owned telecoms company Telebras has been given the green light by the telecoms regulator Anatel to operate broadband internet services in the last mile. The decision to issue a Multimedia Communication Service (SCM) licence, published on 20 January, allows Telebras to provide services directly to consumers, as part of the government’s plan to provide nationwide access for high speed internet access by 2014 under its National Broadband Plan (PNBL). The PNBL will hopefully provide coverage of 68% of all households by that date. The most basic package would be offered at BRL15 per month for a connection speed up to 512kbps, while another package providing connection speeds between 512kbps and 784kbps would cost up to BRL35.
The decision is good news for Telebras which earlier this month saw its proposed BRL1 billion (USD595 million) budget for the PNBL slashed to just BRL590 million. As reported in CommsUpdate, Telebras director Rogerio Santanna said at the time his firm had been granted money to provide access to 1,163 cities and towns over two years. The operator was scheduled to invest BRL600 million in 2010 and BRL400 million this year; however, following the reduction Santanna confirmed Telebras spent BRL316 million last year and will commit a further BRL276 million in the next twelve months. Despite the setback Santanna is confident the company will get close to reaching its rollout targets, especially if it receives additional funding from the federal government – something he says could happen later this year.