Brazil’s Minister of Communications, Hélio Costa, said that, at the request of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the Ministry is preparing a report on the basic monthly fee charged for fixed telephone services.
The report will be delivered to the President at Friday’s, August 12, ministerial meeting. “He asked me to prepare a detailed report so that he can discuss this in broad terms with the economic sector,” Costa added.
Also in response to a presidential request, Costa will hold a meeting next Thursday, August 18, in the Ministry to express once more the government’s concern over this matter, which he classified as a “social outcry.”
Costa informed that on the trip back to Brasília from Belo Horizonte last week, he presented a report on the charging of this fee, and the President was very impressed with the debate.
The Minister of Communications is in favor of eliminating the basic monthly fee for fixed telephone services. “I defend the elimination, but there are tendencies within the government that defend a gradual reduction of the basic monthly fee,” he said.
He went on to say that, when telephone services were privatized in 1997, the basic monthly fee was the equivalent of US$ 3, and now it is around US$ 18.
“I don’t understand why, because the number of fixed telephones has remained strictly the same over the last five years. There was no increase; nevertheless, the prices rose far above the rate of inflation, let it be said in passing,” he concluded.
The basic monthly fee was instituted to pay for the expansion of fixed telephone services.
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