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Life, liberty and the pursuit of geekdom

30 March 2013

banda_anchoThe new telecommunications act, that is now going to the Senate here is in some ways a disappointment. It was initially meant to open the airwaves to communal interests — including indigenous language channels and union, public access and university run channels, but somehow ended up allowing for up to 100 percent foreign ownership of new television channels and a “must carry” provision that only says that cable television providers “must” provide access to any channel with more than 50 percent national coverage (stations are basically networks here… Televisa has several different channels, and controls about 80 percent of television broadcast now. Basically, it’s like having FOX, FOX and FOX (and maybe CNN) unless you subscribe to one of the overpriced cable networks. Adding FOX (the most likely foreign company to buy into a Mexican channel) and something carrying U.S. sitcoms dubbed into Spanish doesn’t sound like much of an improvement. But things aren’t all THAT horrible.

The good part of the Chamber bill (which may or may not get through the Senate without huge changes) is a provision that would require the government to guarantee that at least 70 percent of households, and 85 percent of businesses had access to at least 5 Mb download capacity (not high, but the average among OECD nations) and…a CONSTITUTIONAL GUARANTEE OF … along with equality before the law regardless of color, belief (or lack thereof), political opinion, primary language, sexual preference, gender, and the right to free speech, collectively struggle for common goals, access “decent and sanitary” housing and family planning (yup, all those are in the Mexican Constitution, though we don’t always get them) the bill would add the right to broadband access.

Mexicans Unite!  We have nothing to lose but dial-up!

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