Colombia Delays Cable Tender Again


Bogota, Colombia -- The country's tender to grant
160 regional and local cable licenses has been postponed at least until the
beginning of June.

Sources at the National Television Commission
(CNTV), Colombia's top cable and broadcasting regulator, said the delay was due
to the heavy workload of its five commission members. The original date for
opening the license-granting tender was April 25.

However, the initial stage of the process is now
almost complete. Some 260 licensee hopefuls have been registered and granted
points on the basis of experience and organizational structure, as well as
financial and technical capacity.

According to regulations, only registered
companies may participate (or form part of joint proposals) in what has been a
slow tender dogged by repeated delays. This registration does not constitute a
temporary license to hopefuls, as has been widely speculated.

The process has been strained by renewed
controversy within the CNTV.

Colombian minister of communications Claudia de
Francisco has argued for the closure of the CNTV. In response, its members wrote
to Colombian President Andrés Pastrana, defending the agency's usefulness.

The closure of the CNTV would require a
constitutional amendment.