In what we are told is only a temporary measure, Peru’s National Telecommunications Programme (Pronatel), part of the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MTC), has taken over the operation and maintenance of the National Fibre Optic Backbone (RDNFO).
The organisation signed the agreement with MTC after the contract between the previous operator, Azteca Comunicaciones, and the MTC expired.
RDNFO, which completed construction in 2016, unites 22 regional capitals and 180 provincial capitals in the country, as part of an interconnected system of national telecommunications infrastructure.
The aim of the change of ownership is to guarantee continuity of this service and, through RDNFO, better use of Protanel's 21 ongoing broadband projects, which are currently in development and connect over 7,000 rural areas to the internet. Pronatel will operate the 13,000km fibre system for up to three years.
However, according to a Pronatel press release, the reversion of the assets to the state has not yet happened. This has to do with inspections carried out last year which identified a number of issues that have yet to be addressed by Azteca Comunicaciones.
This may be related to the vast drain on resources that the network has so far caused government, which has now spent some $290 million – nearly three times the original estimate – on the project according to TeleGeography's CommsUpdate.
CommsUpdate highlights the inflexible pricing structure for capacity on the network, and the fact that the system was underutilised and required consistent funding from the government.
Successful attempts to amend laws relating to RDNFO in early 2020 led Azteca to suggest terminating its concession early by mutual agreement. In the event negotiations did not lead to an agreement: last year the ministry unilaterally ordered the cancellation of the Azteca licence, to take effect from early 2022.