In Colombia telecommunications services (which include fixed and mobile communications services as well as radio broadcasts) were separately regulated from television services. Telco services were regulated under Law 1341 of 2009 (Law 1341) by the Communications Regulation Commission. The National Television Agency regulated television services under a separate law (Law 1507 of 2012).
A modification to Law 1341 (New Law) has been approved by the Congress that has the effect of consolidating regulation of telecommunications and broadcast television services under a single regulator. Some of the main changes that have been introduced include the following:
- The ICT Ministry will expand its existing oversight and regulatory authority beyond telco operators, where for example, it is responsible for applying quality of service obligations to encompass television services. The National TV Agency therefore ceases to exist.
- The National Spectrum Agency (ANE) will remain as it is currently, in charge of managing the spectrum (i.e. deciding which services travel through which frequency bands).
- The New Law extends the term of licenses for the use of the radio spectrum, from 10 to 20 years. Licenses that are currently in force may therefore continue for an additional term up to a maximum of twenty years.
- Permits for the use of the radio spectrum may be assigned, leased or marketed, in whole or in part, up to the term of the initial permit or its renewal. •
- Before the New Law, broadcasters had to obtain a License to i) provide TV services; and ii) to use the spectrum for the provision of the TV services. This was different for telco services, where operators only have to acquire licenses for spectrum (if needed) because they are already authorized by law to provide the services. However, following the New Law, operators of broadcast television services established on the date of entry into force of the New Law, may be subject to the same general authorization regime applied to Telco services, in accordance with the transition regime that this Law provides.
Given that digitalization means these technologies are rapidly converging with many telcos providing video services, the aim of this consolidation is to simplify regulation to benefit such innovation and those companies providing these services.