Costa Rica’s legislative assembly is due to discuss two new bills designed to help liberalise the country’s telecoms market at the start of next year. The first draft law is designed to prepare state-run monopoly telco Grupo ICE for the arrival of competition before the Central American Free Trade Agreement with the US (CAFTA) becomes effective. A second bill proposes a framework to regulate the market once competitors have been introduced. The CAFTA was recently ratified by the US, and according to its schedule the Costa Rican market for private data networks and internet services will be opened to competition on 1 January 2006 and mobile services liberalised on 1 January 2007; there is currently no official schedule to liberalise the local telephony sector.
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