Anibal Cavaco Silva took advantage of the opening of the 18th Communications Congress to appeal to the need to guarantee «conditions of equality in access to new technological platforms». At a time when the model chosen for the development of the so-called new generation networks in Portugal (fiber optic networks) has yet to be known, the President of the Republic underlined the importance of «new digital channels for citizens and businesses to fully enter in the Information Society «.
At the opening of the Congress of the Portuguese Communications Association (APDC), the head of state recalled that today «digital communications networks, in the same way as road networks, condition the location of economic activities and the distribution of jobs and constitute an important regional development factor «and that high-speed networks tend to play» a decisive role in this process «.
In the context of new generation networks, the President also spoke of the importance of guaranteeing equal access to the networks that are being born within the scope of some municipalities (the so-called community networks, financed with European funds).
In his speech, Cavaco Silva also recalled that the years of liberalization in the sector did not lead to all Portuguese «broader and more innovative offers, higher quality of service and lower prices». Cavaco Silva stressed the fact that in many areas of the country, especially outside large cities or close to some strata of the population, competition in communications services still does not exist, identifying a «digital exclusion trend in areas with lower purchasing power» , whether they are located in urban or rural areas «.
The President called on regulators to take more effective action in these areas of less competition, in order to guarantee identical offers across the country. «Negative discrimination in access to communications constitutes a market failure that jeopardizes national cohesion. If it is not tackled, it will aggravate the already severe socio-economic and demographic problems that some regions face, creating new outbreaks in the medium term. of social exclusion «.