An unprecedented debate took place in Congress on Monday, August 4, during a meeting of the cable TV subcommittee of the Social Communication Council. Representatives of leading telecommunications companies sat down with ABTA, on behalf of cable companies, for a face-to-face discussion about the possibility of partnership. The meeting was less significant for its outcome than for the fact that nothing similar has happened before, especially in public.
Brasil Telecom was the telco that showed most interest in effectively partnering with cable companies. It?s currently running a video-over-ADSL trial in Foz do Iguaçu, Paraná, with the eventual aim of distributing video via twisted-pair phone lines. Cable companies can?t fail to be attracted by the almost universal coverage of telephone networks, BrT believes.
According to Waldir Morgado, BrT?s manager for the project, initial results have been positive not just in Brazil but also in Monaco and Hull, England, where commercial video-over-ADSL services are available. VP Jorge Jardim said BrT is looking for partners to continue the trials and begin commercial delivery.
Embratel, represented by its director for interconnection, José Roberto Pinto, reiterated the long-distance carrier?s interest in partnering with cable companies for local access. ?The cable network could offer us access to the last mile,? he said. ?This kind of partnership would generate extra revenue for cable companies although it can?t rescue those in crisis.? He criticized the fragmented legislation on pay TV that treats cable, MMDS and DTH as different entities. ?The law should treat all forms of pay TV as a single service,? he said.
Telefonica didn?t send a representative, claiming none of its executives was ?worthy? of appearing in Congress to discuss the issue.
Telemar showed little interest in partnering with cable companies for the moment. Ércio Zilli, Telemar?s director for regulatory affairs, said a marriage of cable and telecoms makes sense from the standpoint of convergence but isn?t justified in terms of economic feasibility right now.