Mexico stalls push for third net

Cofetel cites deeper questions, votes 4-1 against new terrestrial network

Mexico City– Mexico’s federal communications watchdog Cofetel nixed plans for a third national terrestrial network late Wednesday, a blow to those hoping to break the Televisa-Azteca duopoly.

The 4-1 ruling stated obliquely that regulators would not move ahead with a third broadcaster until “questions beyond the scope of the commission have been resolved.”

Speaking on Mexican public radio Thursday, Cofetel commissioner Jose Luis Peralta said one question concerned multiplexing and that there were many voices vying to be heard on this and other issues.

That said, Peralta insisted the issue wasn’t dead: “I hope by February we will have the clarity for all the members to vote.”

Mexico holds presidential elections in July and many observers doubt the issue will be resolved before then because pols fear the influence on auds held by the two webs, which command a combined market share of 90% to 95%.

The decision comes on the heels of a market study carried out by Cofetel last fall that showed just over 90% of Mexicans want an extra web.