One of the great ironies of the present discourse on Internet/broadband is the appointment of Carlos Slim Helu, the world’s richest man and possibly the single most significant barrier to greater Internet access in Latin America, to serve as the Co-Chair of the ITU-UNESCO Broadband Commission. It is widely recognized that Telmex exerts significant market power to keep prices up, users out, and its profits high. I co-authored a few pieces on Mexico’s early reforms in the 1990s so I have some knowledge of the subject.
Now the government has set its sights on telecoms. According to Aurelio Nuño, the president’s chief of staff, within two months the PRI will present a bill to attack the “great problem of concentration” in telephony, internet and television. It promises to chip away at the business empire of Carlos Slim, the world’s richest man, and that of Televisa, a broadcasting giant with mediocre soap operas but outstanding lawyers who have helped it to hold on to a 70% share of free-to-air viewers, as well as about half the pay-TV market.
So if the promise in this Economist report holds, Mr Slim may be able to make better recommendations on how to increase broadband penetration like, “break up monopolies and oligopolies” to his friends at the ITU.