Telecom operators in Argentina may soon be able to provide telephone, internet and cable TV services under a single licence.
Legislators in the Latin American country voted 131 in favour and 97 against the bill, which is aimed at reducing tariffs and encouraging more entrants to the market. The proposal would require the signature of by President Cristina Fernandez before it can be passed.
Operators have been banned from offering both telephone and television services since 1972, by a law passed by the then-ruling military junta.
President of the communications committee Mario Oporto said: “Telecommunications should be a human right. Information and communications technologies should work in the public interest.”
However, the bill has its detractors, with the Socialist Party’s Roy Cortina claiming that it will only strengthen the hold that the established operators – Telecom Argentina, Telefonica Argentina and Cablevision – have over the market.
There are also concerns amongst the leftist government’s opposition that the bill may empower the country’s regulator to access private data without requiring a legal order.