The Minister of Telecommunications and the Information Society gives details of the progress made in 2021 and the projects to which it is aimed in the new year.
The head of the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Society (Mintel), Vianna Maino, details the progress in connectivity that was achieved in 2021. In addition, she advances the plans for the first quarter of 2022 by the government entity.
How does the telecommunications sector close the year?
In terms of connectivity, coverage was achieved in 47 parishes out of 263 that were disconnected, without any type of service; 1,855 free Wi-Fi points and 661 extensions to 4G.
One of the objectives included in the Economic Development and Fiscal Sustainability Law is the payment of 50% of the spectrum with projects for sectors without connectivity. However, this initiative is not something new. How is it guaranteed that this time it does work?
The variable is that the law allows this investment to be made directly by the companies. That is, they are no longer going to pay the State so that it in turn builds, but rather that the company, following a procedure, protocol and approval by the Ministry, executes its projects within the universal plan of sites where the investment (areas without connectivity).
Payment of 50% of the spectrum with projects for sectors without connectivity, among telecommunications reforms that include current tax law
From when could the start of these projects in specific areas be felt?
The regulation of the law is about to come out these days (it was issued on December 29, 2021, via decree). With this, the Mintel would issue the regulations for the internal procedure, so that companies can postulate their investment projects, be approved and with that they can start. We should be running until the first quarter of next year on these investments.
Would the projects be only to increase connectivity with Wi-Fi points, for example?
It is going to be internet service; It is what has been defined for this year. As they are somewhat remote areas and construction takes a few months, the results would be seen by the beginning of the third quarter of 2022. It is an important tax waiver by the state, but for a specific purpose.
Who would act as the controlling entity for these investments to be carried out?
This will be handled jointly by Mintel, the Telecommunications Regulation and Control Agency (Arcotel) and a committee that will be made up of Finance, since it is a tax segregation that will be applied to investment. It is a committee that is going to be put together.
With this incentive and added to the actions by the State portfolio for 2022, what is the connectivity goal for the new year?
The pre-established goal is to connect at least 20 more parishes of the almost 220 that still require connectivity. We believe that next year something similar to the current situation can be achieved, which was to cover 47 parishes and thus achieve 78% mobile coverage in the country towards the end of the government.
In addition, it must be taken into account that distortions were eliminated with the Economic Development Law, which was the market share. This will apply from the year 2023. It was said that the more customers per telecommunications company paid more taxes. It was a deterrent to investment. For this reason, we say that 2022 is going to be gravitant in investments, because we have eliminated some distortions that made the country more expensive and held back investment.
Economic Development Law reconfigures investment incentives
The closest action for the first quarter of 2022, what would it be?
Start with investment projects, that is, the qualification and start of works. In addition to that, as of January 1, 2022, the rates of roaming in mobile telephony disappeared in the Andean Community (CAN). That is, we have the same cost for calls, text messages and data with Peru, Colombia and Bolivia. It is a great milestone, because that allows us to enter more into electronic commerce and close the digital divide. There are 111 million people benefited in the region.
How are you going to regulate the roaming in the country?
This procedure began in July and is something that has been progressively being done, integrating between the countries and the different operators. The roaming it has been coming down and being taxed; For this reason, by January 1 there is practically nothing to do.
After the attack on the National Telecommunications Corporation (CNT), what progress has been made in terms of cybersecurity?
We are about to present to the Presidency of the Republic the draft of the regulations of the Data Protection Law, which will be completed at the beginning of 2022.
In addition, we are training and working with the Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism (Cicte), OAS, World Bank and other organizations to reform our existing policy on cybersecurity. We have activated the EcuCert to all the institutions of the public and central Administration; and also, through the Superintendency of Banks, so that financial entities can be with the alerts activated.
The Government Information Security Scheme (EGSI) has been launched, which is the security protocol of each State institution. Today, we have 108 in the folder that we are verifying that they comply with the methodological parameters of content. So now we can say that each State institution knows how to react to one of these incidents. (I)
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