BNamericas reports that the Brazilian regulator Antel has implemented a new set of rules – the private limited services regulation (SLP) – which allows municipalities in the country to deliver direct broadband services to city inhabitants, without the need to contract a telco or internet service provider (ISP) for access. Previously, any city government wishing to provide internet access to its local population in this way was forced to contract a company licensed to provide multimedia communication services (SCM) in Brazil. The authorities hope the move will facilitate internet (broadband) access in areas that are not economically viable to traditional telecoms companies. The watchdog claims that the SLP forms part of wider public policies for digital inclusion – in particular those under the Cidades Digitais (digital cities) initiative being coordinated by the ministry of communications. The new SLP authorisations cost BRL400 (USD187) and unify 15 communications services, including the provision of applications related to data communications, audio, video, and voice & text.
This is not the first time that the regulator has stepped in to further increase sector liberalisation. In May this year Anatel passed new measures designed to further open up the country’s fixed broadband market, amending two key regulations: one concerning the area of multimedia communications services regulation; and one related to public price regulation for the right to offer telecom and satellite services. The two amendments are aimed at facilitating the arrival of new players to the fixed broadband sector, as well as simplifying the rules and regulations for companies wishing to purchase operating licences for such services. The changes will also impact on fixed telephony and pay-TV regulations, as they allow telcos and cablecos to offer triple-play packages and to make use of fixed telephony numbering. In addition, Anatel ruled that for those broadband providers with more than 50,000 subscribers, they must provide the internet connection for free, and must not charge it as part of a data communications service fee.