Pronatel assumes temporary control of RDNFO

19 Jan 2022

Peru’s National Telecommunications Programme (Programa Nacional de Telecomunicaciones, Pronatel) has assumed temporary control of operation and maintenance of the National Fibre Optic Backbone (Red Dorsal Nacional de Fibra Optica or RDNFO) following the expiry of the government’s contract with the network’s previous operator, Azteca Communications. Pronatel notes that the assets of the RDNFO have not yet reverted to state control, as Azteca is still required to address a number of issues identified by Pronatel during a series of inspections conducted by the agency in November and December last year. Part of the Ministry of Transport and Communications (Ministerio de Transportes y Comunicaciones, MTC), Pronatel will operate the network for up to three years in order to guarantee continuity of service of the 13,000km fibre system which connects 22 regional capitals and 180 provincial capitals.

As noted by TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the state-backed project has been beset by legal and commercial difficulties since construction was completed in 2016. Due in part to the inflexible pricing structure for capacity on the network, the system was underutilised and required consistent funding from the government. In mid-2021 the government noted that it had spent USD290 million on the project – USD192 million more than initially estimated – with only 3.2% of the network’s installed capacity being used at that date, generating revenues that covered just 7.7% of the network’s costs. Efforts to address the network’s issues were complicated by the fact that the rules regarding the RDNFO had been enshrined in law and would need to be amended. An amendment was eventually passed in January 2020, following which Azteca submitted a proposal to terminate its concession early by mutual agreement. Negotiations between Azteca and the MTC were unsuccessful and the in July 2021 the ministry unilaterally ordered the cancellation of the licence, to take effect from early 2022.

Peru, Ministry of Transport and Communications (MTC)