Chilean President Sebastian Pinera has signed a bill which aims to create a Superintendency of Telecommunications to better protect consumer’s rights and resolve issues between companies and consumers, reports the country’s telecoms regulator Sub-Secretaria de Telecomunicaciones (Subtel). The new office’s responsibilities were listed as: monitoring compliance with regulations and, where necessary, administering punitive measures; participating in the delivery and removal of licences; ensuring proper use of spectrum; and collecting information on the sector and regulating tariffs. It will also be given greater powers, including an increase of 1000% to the maximum fines that can be issued to telcos that break regulations. The Superintendency will not replace Subtel, but exist alongside the current watchdog. Having been given presidential approval, the bill will now pass to congress for discussion before being passed into law.
The signing of the bill was marked by the completion of the first stage of Chile’s move to remove charges for domestic long-distance (DLD) calls. The regions of Los Lagos and Los Rios joined Valparaiso, Maule, Biobio, Atacama and Coquimbo, where the policy has already been implemented. The second and final phase is due to be completed by the end of 2013 and will complete the removal of DLD charges.