As previously announced, the telecommunications sector is part of the 95 commitments of the “Pact for Mexico” signed by President Peña Nieto and the three main political parties of the country, whereby the Federal Government will implement a set of administrative actions and the parties will support the Bill to achieve the goals sought by these commitments.
On March 11, 2013, President Peña Nieto jointly with such political parties submitted a bill for a constitutional amendment on telecommunications matters, which main aspects are the following:
- Digital agenda: provide access to broadband Internet in public buildings and encourage the investment in telehealth and telemedicine applications.
- Implementation of international operation criteria: force cable TV providers to include broadcast signals free of charge (“must carry”) and force open TV providers to offer their signals to pay TV operators on a nondiscriminatory basis and at competitive prices (“must offer”).
- Telephone and data service competition: regulate services provided by dominant operators, remove barriers for the entry of new operators, and regulate the joint offer of two or more services in line with international practices
- New concessions to create, at least, two new TV chains with national coverage. Creation of specialized telecommunication courts.
- Broadband: recognize in the Federal Constitution the right of access to broadband.
- Federal Telecommunications Institute: a new Institute will be created in lieu of the Federal Telecommunications Commission (“COFETEL”), with autonomy and decision-making authority. The new Institute will have the power to grant radio, TV and telecommunications concessions based on technical considerations.
- Realignment of telecommunication laws and regulations: propose a single statute regulating telecommunications.
- Foreign investment: accept foreign investment in areas previously restricted (up to 100% in telecommunications and up to 49% in radio and TV).