Brazil
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Telcos reach deal with Marco Civil's author, bill could be voted on this year

Bnamericas Published: Saturday, December 07, 2013

Brazilian telecommunications service providers have come to a deal with lawmaker Alessandro Molon, author of the Marco Civil da Internet (civil internet bill), regarding network neutrality, according to local press reports.

As a result, the bill may still be voted on this year. The Marco Civil bill is blocking any other bill being voted on in Brazil's congress since its "urgency" deadline expired at the end of October. Its final draft was presented in November.

The bill had been tagged as urgent by President Dilma Rousseff in the aftermath of the espionage scandal, with the aim of accelerating its approval.

According to congressional rules, this urgency tag forces a project to be voted on in up to 45 days, after which time it prevents any other bill from being voted on before it.

This week, lower house president Henrique Alves requested president Rousseff for the bill no longer to be tagged as urgent in order to free up the congressional agenda.

Citing telco association Sinditelebrasil's president, Eduardo Levy, reports have affirmed that a consensus has been reached on the most pressing and controversial article of the bill.

"We have a text written on network neutrality together with Alessandro Molon. This text has already reached the chief of staff's office and at this time, the telecommunications industry is in favor of its approval," Levy was quoted as saying in Brasília.

Operators had been claiming that, through the way it was written, the network neutrality article prevented them from offering plans with download limits or speed differentiation.

Molon claimed that was not the correct interpretation of the article.

It is not clear whether there has been a rewording of the article or if the operators have agreed that the existing wording did not restrict its offerings.

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