The Mexican government aims to promote high speed internet adoption in part by the sale of concessions which will allow the winning bidders to utilise state-owned fibre-optic lines and to build networks in those areas that currently do not have access to broadband services. According to Bloomberg, the initiative will see the government conduct auctions that will include contracts to use two fibre-optic lines from state-owned powerco Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE), while bids will also be taken on the use of fibre links running on along the federal highway network. Mexican president Felipe Calderon is pushing the move with a view to boosting the country’s standings in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in terms of broadband uptake; as per the group’s recent report, Mexico had 10.5 broadband subscriptions per 100 residents at the end of 2010, a figure placing it 32 out of the 34 countries in the organisation. Commenting on the plans, President Calderon noted: ‘We’re promoting social connectivity with broadband.’
The move is not the government’s first in the fibre sector; as noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Mexico announced plans to auction off access to two unused portions of a nationwide fibre-optic network in May 2009, in order to boost broadband competition. Subsequently, in June 2009 the Secretario de Comunicaciones y Transportes (SCT) announced that CFE had formally requested the regulator auction the two fibre portions on its behalf, but some industry figures criticised the proposals as not going far enough, claiming that the CFE had 36 fibre strands suitable for sale, and calling on the state-run entities to consider expanding the scope of the auction. Despite the calls for an extended tender, bidding for the two fibre strands started on 27 January 2010, with a minimum combined bid for all three sections of MXN858.6 million (USD66.13 million). With the state having set a 5 April 2010 deadline for bids, a joint venture between Megacable, Telefonica and Televisa JV emerged as the sole bidder for the fibre links in May 2010. The following month the SCT confirmed the consortium had been awarded the licence allowing access to the two strands of dark fibre, and having bid MXN884 million in the auction, the trio also revealed that they plan to spend a combined MXN1.3 billion on upgrading the infrastructure for future use.