Brazil’s regulatory framework for CNs

Since 2008, the Brazilian regulatory framework had a prerogative to allow the sharing of Internet access to third parties. The resolution was a pearl among the thousands of Brazilian telecommunications resolutions. Resolution 506/2008, which regulated restricted radiation equipment, allowed signal sharing following certain power and frequency restrictions in the ISM bands. The problem was further aggravated by a placement in Article 3 for exemption from service authorization and licensing of stations when it comes to provisioning for own use OR for certain groups of users.

Only in this resolution was there a legal determination that allowed the dispensation of service authorization and station licensing, which is based on the General Telecommunications Law in Brazil (Law 9472/1997).

In 2008, IBEBrasil registered a letter asking about the practical application of Resolution 506/2008 and a normative act from the previous year (Act 66198/2007) that allowed city halls to provide internet access for residents (regulatory determination to give legality to the Digital Cities policy), leading to deliberation by the responsible sector of the National Telecommunications Agency a simple answer if an entity could provide access to the internet to third parties within the same contexts of Act 66198/2007, that is, provide access to the Internet. free internet for communities.

Anatel’s answer was clear, if access is free, made by non-profit entities and in compliance with the technical limits of Resolution 506/2008, yes it could do this provision of internet access.

After this answer, a cycle of debates and articulations begins with Ministry of Communication and Ministry of Cience, Technology and Innovation to improve these regulatory determinations, because, in the same way that the agency itself issued this answer, on the other hand, they also said that it was a crime to do this type of provision without authorization, with application of administrative sanction, in the amount of 10 thousand reais and imprisonment for up to 2 years.

In 2010, Ministry of Communication, with provocation from civil society, entered the negotiating table with Anatel to end this regulatory insecurity. These negotiations were also based on solving the problem of Digital Cities policies, since Normative Act 66.198/2007 was not sufficient to legally guarantee such activities to the municipalities. The result was the reissue of the Private Limited Service (SLP) resolution, which culminated in the number 617/2013, where in its Article 18 it said the following:

“Single paragraph. The SLP support networks of bodies or entities of the Public Administration directly or indirectly from the Federal, State, Municipal or Federal District, as well as non-profit entities, may provide Internet connection. ”

Certainly a victory, but there was still the blessed resolution 506/2008, which still gave the understanding that it was possible to provide the internet signal, through associative processes, with the waiver of authorization.

The debate continued and in 2017, Anatel reissued Resolution 506/2008, with a new number, Resolution 680/2017 and reissued Resolution 617/2013 again, creating the figure of exemption from authorization, not only for the SLP, but, also for the resolution of Multimedia Communication Service (SCM – Resolution 614/2013), eliminating once and for all the clandestine internet providers, the famous providers “Via Gato”.

In parallel to all this debate on the regularization of community networks, there is still a way to go on regulatory asymmetries that equalize rights between profit-making telecommunications service providers and non-profit community networks.

The Agency, in response to international recommendations, by ITU.D19 and evidently by the articulations of civil society for guaranteeing access to the internet as a human right, created in January 2020 a page on its official website talking about the initiatives of Community Networks such as viable alternatives for reducing social and regional inequalities in the country.

A breath for us to continue treading this very necessary path to include all people, regardless of social class, region, race or creed in the information society of the 21st century. Let’s go

A contribution for 5/1 Question in ITU.D