Mexican court stops attempt to shut down Red Compartida

Friday, March 17, 2017

A Mexican federal court that handles telecom matters has dismissed a request from US-Irish telecom firm Rivada Networks to suspend the deployment of the country's wholesale network, Red Compartida.

The request is part of a separate lawsuit filed by Rivada against communications and transport ministry (SCT), which oversaw the bidding process late last year, when it disqualified the US-Irish company from the tender and awarded the project to the remaining bidder, the Altán consortium. Whether or not the deployment should be suspended will have to be decided as part of that lawsuit, judge Adriana Campuzano said, adding nonetheless that the project is of national interest and mandated by the constitution

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The lawsuit – an appeal, or amparo, filed by Rivada against the whole bidding process – could take several years, by which time the project will have advanced significantly. In fact, the network is on track to meet its initial coverage goal of 30% of Mexico's population a year from now, deputy communications minister Mónica Aspe Bernal said earlier this month. In this sense, it is unlikely that Rivada's request will come to fruition.

Red Compartida will require investments of US$7bn dollars over a 20-year period and it is expected to bridge Mexico's digital divide by providing coverage to 92.2% of the population.

The legal fight between Rivada and the SCT has become a two-way street that has gone nowhere. Recently, a court also rejected the SCT's attempt to sue Rivada for moral damage.