The Justice once again suspended the application of the Decree of Necessity and Urgency (DNU) that declared essential public services and freeze prices Internet, telephony and pay TV, since these regulations imposed conditions that restricted the provision of these services under competitive conditions.
The Federal Administrative Litigation Chamber it accepted Telecentro and DirecTV’s claim, as it said earlier last month with respect to Telecom.
The new court ruling held that the DNU issued by President Alberto Fernández last August changed the legal and economic equation of companies that provide telecommunications services, since being a sector that was in competition Their income was affected and the provision of said services was compromised, especially since there were other alternative tools to guarantee them in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, such as Arsat and the Universal Service Trust Fund.
The Federal Chamber issued the precautionary measure, requested by Telecentro and DirecTV, suspending the telecommunications DNU for both companies, together with the resolutions of the National Communications Agency (ENaCom), which applied said DNU.
Is that DNU 690 and the three ENaCom resolutions imposed obligations on service providers who are, in principle, “likely to substantially affect the economic-financial equation taken into consideration when the benefits are authorized and concessions are granted, “said the Federal Chamber.
In the same sense, the Justice stated that it also did not meet the standard of “reasonableness and legitimacy” the requirement to provide a Compulsory Basic Benefit (PBU) to underprivileged sectors of the population, with prices “even lower” than those established for the “remaining customers” in telephone, Internet and pay TV services.
With this judicial measure, the Federal Chamber recognizes the law of companies in the communications sector to set their commercial policies. At the beginning of last month it did so with respect to Telecom. And now it has expanded to Telecentro and DirecTV.
On the other hand, from the ENaCom they questioned the ruling of the Federal Chamber and said that they are going to present an extraordinary federal appeal, to arrive with the appeal before the Supreme Court of Justice. That appeal was already dismissed this Wednesday by the Chamber, in the Telecom case, despite which the ENaCom anticipated that it will present a complaint appeal to the highest judicial instance.
When he issued this DNU, last August, Alberto Fernández justified his decision that “there were 6,000 boys” from porteño popular neighborhoods, who were exposed to being infected with coronavirus.
“What most decided me was a talk we had with the head of government of the city of Buenos Aires, where he explained to me that there were 6,000 boys who had to go back to school, because the Internet connectivity was getting bad for them“The President said at the time. And he added:” That seemed to me to be a misreading of what should be done, which is to bring connectivity to these kids. Don’t take those kids out and expose them to the risk of contagion in schools. “
The ruling of Chamber II of the Federal Chamber stated that if the objective of the Government was to guarantee access to the most disadvantaged sectors of the population, I could count on other tools, such as the prohibition of service cuts or the Universal Service Funds, which are provided by the telecommunications service providers themselves, with 1% of their income.
In fact, at the time of issuing the DNU of telecommunications, the ENaCom had $ 10 billion available in that Universal Service Fund, in a Banco Nación account, to provide Internet to students from popular neighborhoods and to all those who could not pay for services or were in areas with connectivity problems.
The Federal Administrative Litigation Chamber now revoked – by two majority votes and one dissenting vote – a first instance ruling which endorsed the price freeze established by the Government until the end of 2020, after which the ENaCom set limited price increases for one sector of the population, while it was reduced for another sector, with the obligation to provide the PBU.
Its about second ruling of the Buenos Aires Federal Chamber with national jurisdiction. And it is in line with two other rulings of the federal Justice of the province of Córdoba, in which the DNU of telecommunications was also suspended, in cases initiated by the provider TV Cable Color and the Argentine Association of Cable Television (ATVC) .