Legislators in Argentina have voted in favour of a law which will let companies provide telephone, internet and cable television services via a single licence, in hopes of opening up the market and driving down prices, Reuters reported.
Lawmakers voted 131 in favour and 97 against the bill which could replace a law set in 1972 – when the country was still under a dictatorship – barring operators from offering both television and telephone services.
The bill still needs to be signed by President Cristina Fernandez in order to be enacted.
According to president of the communications committee, Mario Oporto: “Telecommunications should be a human right. Information and communications technologies should work in the public interest.”
However, some critics, like opposition legislator Roy Cortina of the Socialist Party, are of the opinion that the bill will further cement already established market players – Telecom Argentina, Telefonica Argentina and Cablevision – rather than encourage competition.
Others who oppose the president’s leftist government are worried the legislation may enable the regulatory authority in the country to demand private data without the need for a legal order.
In October, the country launched a satellite to provide telecom services to its remote regions as well as neighbouring Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay.
Last month, Secom, Argentina’s telecoms ministry said it was satisfied with the result of an auction of 3G and 4G spectrum that raised in excess of $2 billion.