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Internet, TV, and telephone: basic public services.

26 August, 2020

The Argentinian President, Alberto Fernández, announced the Government’s decision to declare Internet, land and mobile telephone and cable television as basic public services.

Argentina has been in recession for more than two years, a crisis aggravated by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. This has resulted in a further deterioration of social indicators, with almost 40% of the population below the poverty line, a higher unemployment rate and a sharp drop in the economic activity.

What does this decision entail?

Mainly to freeze the rates of these telecommunications services until 31 December. Companies must be authorised by the Argentinian National Communications Agency (ENACOM, in Spanish), for a possible increase in prices.

Internet, TV, and telephone: basic public services.

Internet is one of the digital rights.

This measure, established by a Necessity and Urgency Decree, directly quotes concerning Internet access that: ‘One of the digital rights that every person has to exercise and enjoy their right to freedom of expression in different relevant documents of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) for developing a more egalitarian society and the importance of everybody having the right to access them.’

Facing social inequalities.

Even though the different user and consumer associations have been demanding this decision urgently for years, the pandemic caused by COVID- 19 has further aggravated the economic and social situation that evidenced the injustice and prevailing inequality in access to communication and information.

Electricity and Gas.

This decision adds to the freezing of electricity and gas rates until the end of the year, since in June it was decided to extend the measure established in the Argentinian Act on Social Solidarity and Productive Reactivation for six more months.

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