Band criticizes Pay-TV license low price

The Brazilian free-to-air TV broadcasting company Band criticized the decision taken by the National Telecommunications Agency by means of which a single USD 5,000 price was set for Pay-TV licenses and alleged that "the intention is to grant licenses almost free-of-charge so as to benefit telecommunications companies". A few days ago, the Brazilian Pay-TV Association also expressed its position. The intention of such state-owned body is to encourage competition in the market.

A report issued by the state-owned channel pointed out that the initiative accounted for a "strong beat to tax payers". According to estimates disclosed in the program, license granting will be about USD 5 millions worth under the new system. Such value accounts for the 1% collected in 1997, when cable license auctions were held. During those 13 years, licenses accounted for about an updated amount of USD 519 millions for the State. With such resources, the Government might "build 25 hospitals and do up the Maracaná soccer stadium, thus leaving it ready for the World Soccer Cup 2014".

"With these new rules, the main beneficiaries will be telephone companies, which will manage to enter the sector by paying almost nothing", the report forecasted. The decision of the Agency was also criticized by the President of the Brazilian Pay-TV Association Alexandre Annenberg, who considered that such measure "will damage small operators" and will pose technical restrictions that will prevent "more than five companies from operating in the same municipality".