Brazilian telecom operators investigated for refusing to provide Internet connectivity

Claro, Tim, and Vivo are facing investigation for their refusal to sell data plans to provide internet access to disadvantaged students and teachers in the states of Amazonas and Alagoas.

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Brazilian telecom operators Claro, Tim, and Vivo are under investigation by the Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) and the Federal Public Ministry for refusing to sell data plans to provide internet connectivity for disadvantaged students and teachers. Despite directives from the National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel), the companies have declined to comply and sell data plans for public school programs in the states of Amazonas and Alagoas. 

The Federal Prosecution Office in the Federal District initiated an inquiry based on a report by Folha earlier this month. The programs, aimed at serving around 650,000 students, are part of a federal law allocating funds for internet access. Base Mobile, the winning bidder responsible for providing the service in the Alagoas and Amazonas states, has contracts that include filtered internet access limited to educational use and ‘neutral’ chips. 

The telecom companies are opposed to these terms and refuse to sell the connection lines at market prices. One of their main arguments is that Base Mobile is allegedly reselling the connection and is not authorized to provide such a service under the law. Additionally, they are also questioning the bidding models won by Base Mobile, alleging technical and regulatory irregularities. 

However, Anatel has already rejected this interpretation and initiated legal action. Operators’ actions have also sparked political reactions, urging the companies to be investigated.