Mexican Senate gives OK to telecom reform bill

22 Apr 2013

Just a few weeks after having been passed by the lower house, Mexico’s Senate has given the nod to reforms which are widely expected to enhance competition in the country’s telecoms sector. According to Reuters, however, the upper house passed the bill with changes that could impact the government’s efforts in other areas, reporting that the version of the legislation passed by the Senate would allow companies that are fined or told to sell off assets to lodge appeals to suspend such decisions. The bill must now return to Congress for final approval, though members of the ruling Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) party are said to be confident it will be passed before the end of this month.

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, under the proposals the government is calling for the creation of a new telecoms regulator – the Federal Telecommunications Institute (FTI) – which will have the power to order those companies adjudged to dominate their market to sell off assets. The new entity would also be able to limit companies from seeking to stall competition through continued litigation, with special courts expected to deal with regulatory disputes, and prohibit companies from blocking regulatory decisions though legal means while they are being challenged in court. In addition, the state’s proposals will lift restrictions on foreign ownership on companies providing fixed line telecommunication services, while the government is planning to set up a state-run carrier of carriers with a view to ensuring it meets its target of ensuring 70% of homes and 85% of businesses have access to the internet.