A Critical Analysis of the Limitations and Effects of the Brazilian National Broadband Plan

A Critical Analysis of the Limitations and Effects of the Brazilian National Broadband Plan

André Lemos (Federal University of Bahia, Brazil) and Francisco Paulo Jamil Almeida Marques (Federal University of Ceará, Brazil)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2997-4.ch014

Abstract

This chapter examines the limitations and the socio-political effects of the Brazilian National Broadband Plan (PNBL: is its Portuguese acronym). The discussion considers the main transformations witnessed in the telecommunications landscape in Brazil during the second half of the twentieth century. On the one hand, the end of state monopoly of telecommunications services and the provision of such services by the private sector called for greater investments in infrastructure. On the other hand, the Brazilian regulatory agencies have failed to lower prices, promote competition, and spread broadband access to remote and underserved areas. The PNBL was launched in order to deal with these difficulties. The plan, however, has at least three important problems: (1) the low-speed connection offered to users, (2) the unattractive prices, and (3) the lack of reflection on issues such as net neutrality. The text argues that only by taking such issues into consideration will the plan ensure innovation, economic growth, diversity, and freedom of access to information.
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The Context Of Brazilian Telecommunications

Since the 1917 Decree 3,296 (issued to affirm the “exclusive responsibility of the Federal Government regarding radiotelegraphic and radiotelephonic services in the Brazilian territory”), until the last decade of the 20th century, one can note a strong centralization of telecommunications services in the hands of the Brazilian State.

The development and greater use of radio broadcasting, started in the 1930s, generated a new list of concerns for the Government. Besides transmission itself, it became necessary to keep watch on the type of content offered by radio stations and later on, by television networks (even though the State was not the main responsible for its production). President Getúlio Vargas, while dictator (1937-1945), as well as elected president (1951-1954), considered it essential to monitor (and even censor) the elaboration of materials which could influence the formation of the government's public image (Jambeiro, et al., 2004). During most of the first half of the 20th century, the impact of television and radio on the formation of public opinion remained a concern of Brazilian political leaders.

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