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Broadband Commission might need a new co-chair

The ITU’s Secretary General appointed the biggest single barrier to broadband in Latin America, the wily Carlos Slim Helu, as the co-chair of the Broadband Commission. He specializes in tying up efforts to regulate his enterprises. Now that the political elites in Mexico have agreed to curb the hegemony of Telmex, his hands will be full and there may be a vacancy in the Broadband Commission.

Slim, the world’s richest man, dominates Mexico’s telecommunications market, controlling 70 percent of the country’s mobile market and 80 percent of its fixed phone lines.

Televisa, controlled by tycoon Emilio Azcarraga, has about 60 percent of the broadcast market.

The reform stipulates that any company with a market share exceeding 50 percent will be deemed dominant.

A dominant player may be subject to sanctions including possible forced asset disposals, the bill said. It also seeks to curb the ability of companies to suspend legal rulings against them while they appeal decisions.

The reform also will increase competition in the television market, by auctioning rights to run two new television channels, a process that will not be open to the two most powerful broadcasters, Televisa and TV Azteca.

The bill proposed introducing a new telecoms regulator, the Federal Institute of Telecommunications (IFT), along with specialized courts for settling competition disputes.

Mexico’s peso strengthened to its highest point in 18 months early on Monday with traders saying the currency had benefited from optimism on the country’s reform drive.

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