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In Mexico, new rules expand television, telephone and Internet services

In Mexico, new rules expand television, telephone and Internet services

New telecommunications rules paving the way for cable television and telephone companies to directly sell phone, Internet and TV services over their networks went into effect Wednesday in Mexico.
The so-called "triple play" rules _ which set a framework for the bundling of all three services _ are seen as key to spurring more competition both in local telephony, where former state monopoly Telmex controls more than 90 percent of fixed lines, and in the paid television market, which is dominated by regional monopolies.
Telmex already offers triple play in Brazil through cable TV operator Net Servicos de Comunicacao, and in August it paid nearly US$42 million (euro33 million) for Colombia's cable TV operator Superview with an eye toward upgrading its network to handle voice and data services.
Mexico's 220 cable companies are currently allowed to provide broadband Internet service directly to consumers, and voice services through resale agreements with phone companies.
Most telecommunications companies, including Mexico's dominant fixed-line operator Telefonos de Mexico, or Telmex, are prevented from offering paid TV content due to restrictions in their concessions.
Under the rules published Tuesday, the Federal Telecommunications Commission, or Cofetel, has 75 days to draft interconnection regulations for cable TV operators and phone companies. Phone companies with restricted concessions will have to ask Cofetel to modify their concessions in order to provide television service.
In the case of Telmex, Cofetel has 75 days to determine whether the former state monopoly should be required to pay a fee to modify its concession.
The cable industry has invested more than US$360 million (euro284 million) in the past three years to upgrade networks for data and voice traffic, according to industry association Canitec. But those investments have been underutilized due to the lack of regulations.
Telmex officials declined to comment on the rules, which were published in the Official Gazette by the Communications and Transport Ministry, or SCT, while officials from Canitec weren't available for comment.
Canitec has been a vocal opponent of the SCT's triple play initiative, saying the rules will leave its members at a competitive disadvantage because they don't guarantee that Telmex will provide interconnection and number portability before Telmex can offer its own video service.
In September, the Treasury Department said the federal government would be entitled to financial compensation in the event Telmex were allowed to offer TV service, since when Telmex was privatized in 1990 the buyers paid a lower price for the company as a result of the restrictions in its concession.
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Ken Parks is a correspondent for Dow Jones Newswires.


Updated : 2021-04-20 21:32 GMT+08:00