Apritel believes that 2006 will be a year of structural decisions for the communications sector

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Apritel yesterday presented the balance of its activity for 2005, in line with expectations for 2006. António Coimbra, president of the association, explained that this entity does not comment on Sonae’s takeover bid on Portugal Telecom, but adds that 2006 «may be a very relevant year for the sector regardless of the outcome «of this operation, since a» structural decision «on copper networks (wholesale and retail) or cable network seems to be underway.

In the activity plan carried over from last year, Apritel presents as priorities the work of 10 commissions created to intervene in areas considered to be key, including Municipal Fees for Rights of Way (TMDP) created according to a model that the association disagrees with. The commission dedicated to this area, led by Lobo Xavier, considers that «the deficiencies of the legal framework are at several levels». Among the aspects that the association disagrees with is the fact that other rates coincide, the collection mechanisms are not well defined, the form of application of administrative offenses or even the way of calculating municipal percentages.

In response, Apritel prepared «a legislative model that does not decrease revenues and simplifies the process», explained Lobo Xavier. This new model – for the fee charged by fixed telecommunications operators to their customers, already in application by PT and Cabovisão – has already been presented to the Government and to the National Association of Municipalities, which did not respond. Apritel advocates a single fee for all municipalities that would be divided among them according to population criteria and which in its legislative proposal is called Electronic Communications Consumption Tax.

Within the scope of action of another commission, a shared risk database is being created that gathers information on debtor customers. The initiative, which is expected to deliver results by the end of the term of the current corporate bodies, will take advantage of information already gathered by mobile operators but will serve the entire sector, although there is no planned implementation date yet.

Apritel has work commissions also dedicated to Anacom, access to the basic network, access to conduits in the public domain, legal regime for telecommunications infrastructures in buildings (ITED), access to content, portability and pre-selection, national plan of numbering and benchmarking European.

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