Move is latest battle in war with Argentine gov't

BUENOS AIRES – Argentina’s biggest cabler Cablevision on Friday said it will take legal action against a government order to shut down its Fibertel unit, which provides broadband Internet services to about 1.1 million users.

In a newspaper ad, it called the move “illegal and arbitrary” and a sign of the government’s increasingly “totalitarian” ways.

Cablevision added that its dismissal from the business will give telephone companies a monopoly on broadband connections.

Planning minister Julio De Vido on Thursday ordered Fibertel’s closure in 90 days because its license was not in order following a merger with Cablevision.

It is the latest battle between President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and Grupo Clarin, Cablevision’s owner and the country’s biggest media conglom. The president has accused Clarin of biased reporting, and this year the government is implementing legislation that will require Clarin to reduce its broadcasting portfolio. The government last year took away TV rights for hugely popular pro soccer from a company backed by Clarin.

Clarin gets more than 60% of its revenue from its cable and Internet services.

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