Brazil government to send 3 bills to Congress to modernize telecoms industry

By Gabriela Mello

SAO PAULO, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Brazil's government is ready to send to Congress three new bills to foster the development of the country's telecommunications industry, including rules on deployment of antennae and data centers, ahead of a long-awaited auction for fifth-generation frequencies, an official said on Tuesday.

"They are practically ready, but first we wanted to get the new regulatory framework approved by Congress," said Julio Semeghini, executive secretary at the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications.

He spoke during a telecoms event in Sao Paulo, referring to a bill known as PLC 79, which is expected to unleash a wave of asset sales and benefit the entire industry.

Semeghini said the modernization of Brazil's telecoms law is likely to boost investment in the sector and is essential for the deployment of 5G broadband service. "Some carriers will more than double their investments in the next few years," he said.

Regulatory agency Anatel had planned to carry out a spectrum auction for 5G in March 2020 but is now likely to postpone it, as analysis on potential interference with other services is still ongoing.

"It will be next year, but I don't want to talk about dates as Anatel is still looking at all the specifications," the secretary said.

Semeghini added that the government is also engaged in putting together a regulatory framework for startups. He said there are 12,000 startups in Brazil, including eight new companies valued at more than $1 billion, creating more than 30,000 jobs.

(Reporting by Gabriela Mello)

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