Argentina approves new telecoms law

18 Dec 2014

Argentina’s Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of the National Congress, has approved a new telecommunications law, replacing the existing legislation that dates back to 1972. Reuters reports that legislators voted 131 in favour and 97 against the ‘Digital Argentina’ bill, which will allow companies to provide bundled telephone, internet and cable television services. It also creates the Autoridad de Aplicacion de las Tecnologias de la Informacion y las Comunicaciones (AFTIC), a new seven-member body responsible for controlling and regulating all ICT-related matters. ‘Telecommunications should be a human right,’ said Mario Oporto, president of the communications committee, adding: ‘Information and communications technologies should work in the public interest.’ Critics argue that the new bill, which still needs to be signed by President Cristina Fernandez to be enacted, will benefit market leaders rather than increasing competition. ‘Instead of defending the interests of users … this is a measure designed to secure and expand the business interests of the telecoms companies, further cementing their dominant positions,’ argued opposition legislator Roy Cortina of the Socialist Party.