Chile telcos to propose US$26bn public-private investment in 10 years

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Atelmo – the Chilean telecoms association made up of Entel, Movistar, Claro, Nextel and VTR – plans to propose to the government public-private investment of US$26bn for the next 10 years to develop ICT, according to a report by local daily La Tercera.

According to Atelmo president Guillermo Pickering, the plan is to ensure 80% of the population is covered with 4G and fiber optic infrastructure over the next decade.

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Pickering said the private sector could contribute some 85% of the total, or US$22bn, and the state the remainder.

Along with the proposal, the organization will ask the government to ensure clear regulations to create an ideal investment environment.

Issues to be addressed include development of the universal services fund and increasing the powers of the consumer protection agency – something that is currently being debated in congress.

Pickering said that while it is important to protect consumer interests there should not be a regime in place that imposes "exaggerated" fines.

Former President Sebastián Piñera launched in May 2013 the country's 2013-20 digital agenda. The plan includes a project to invest 2.340bn pesos (US$3.9mn) in installing free Wi-Fi hotspots throughout Chile. An auction for the third phase of the project is due to take place in December.

Current President Michelle Bachelet said in May her government will supplement the universal services fund to finance telecoms infrastructure projects aimed at boosting international data connectivity.