Oaxacan community takes matters into its own hands after Telmex repeatedly fails to install phone lines. (Aug 2013)
Mexico’s telecommunications regulator decided Thursday to delay by several months the planned auction of two digital television networks, citing a congressional delay in passing the laws that will guide last year’s overhaul of the telecommunications and broadcast sectors.
The Federal Telecommunications Institute moved to September from June the deadline for potential bidders to obtain antitrust clearance to participate in the auction. The two new television networks are part of last year’s legal overhaul in the telecommunications and broadcast sectors aimed at increasing competition in those markets. Incumbent TV broadcasters Grupo Televisa and Azteca are barred from participating in the auction.
The institute said that since the Congress has yet to approve the secondary laws, the lack of legal certainty is likely to discourage bidders and their potential sources of financing.
The Chilean telecommunications regulator Subtel has banned mobile operators from offering so-called zero-rated social media apps – services like Twitter and Facebook that, through deals with the carriers, can be used without having to pay for mobile data. Subtel says such practices are illegal under Chilean net neutrality law. These offers are particularly popular in developing markets because they give the carriers a way to get people familiar with the mobile internet, which is something they may have previously avoided due to high perceived cost. The user will get to see and use Twitter, for example, for free, and will then be encouraged to move across to paid data so they can click through the links.
Billed as an effort to break up Mexico’s notorious telecommunications and broadcast monopolies, the law covers a broad range of electronic communications issues [es] — and treads heavily in human rights territory. At the behest of the “competent” authorities, the law authorizes telecommunications companies to “block, inhibit, or eliminate” communications services “at critical moments for public and national security.” The law also authorizes Internet service providers to offer service packages that “respond to market demands” and differentiating in “capacity, speed, and quality” – a measure that could preclude protections for net neutrality in the country. To top it off, security measures in the law would allow authorities to track user activity in real time using geolocation tools, without obtaining prior court approval.
…while some carriers have decided to press on with developing their data business since former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden’s disclosures, others have started pitching themselves as their customers’ best allies in seeking to hide from any prying eyes. Verizon’s Precision Marketing Insights product, which offers businesses statistics about mobile users in a given area, was in commercial trials with sports teams and billboard owners when the Snowden allegations hit. After fresh debate by top management and the board on whether selling even anonymous data on customers was a good move, the company decided to go ahead with it, said Colson Hillier, a Verizon executive. “Privacy is a hot button issue right now, but we think we can take a leadership stance,” Hillier said. “It’s not a reputational risk if you do it right and are pro-active in communication with consumers and policy makers.” Other telecom companies took the opposite tack, casting themselves as better guardians of customer data than internet companies like Google, which use it to target advertising. Deutsche Telekom, for example, last year launched an encrypted “Email made in Germany” service and a secure communications link for small businesses to ward off hackers or spooks. “Protection of the private sphere is a valuable commodity,” its CEO said.