Anatel?s records show 130 pay-TV licenses granted and not yet operating, with formal deadlines expiring as of next week. In some cases, licensees have until 2003 to start operating. Eighty-two cable licenses are supposed to start operating this year. Horizon alone holds 19, followed by RCA with 14, and Multitel/RBS with nine. Twenty-six other cable licenses are due to come on stream in 2003: most are held by Alusa and Walberg/Canbrás, with seven each.
In MMDS, 12 licenses are scheduled to go live in 2002 and ten in 2003. The complete list of licenses issued since 1999, with official deadlines for start-up, can be read at www.paytv.com.br/arquivos/agenda_anatel.xls.
However, having a formal deadline doesn?t mean a license must actually begin delivering commercial service. In almost every case, Anatel gives operators more time to get new licenses up and running. All they need do is apply for an extension with one of three possible justifications: proven difficulties in negotiating utility pole rental, difficulties in negotiating with programmers, or insufficient economic profitability. Anatel performs due diligence and grants an extension if it concludes that the applicant has solid grounds for requesting one.