Mexican Supreme Court rules on Digital TV Decree

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Photo credit: “End Piece by Kevan Davis”

It was Administration of Ex-President Vicente Fox that set digital TV transition from July 2004 to December 31, 2021.  However, Administration of President Felipe Calderon decided to shut analog TV earlier. Exactly on December 31, 2015.

Reducing 6 years in technology is a serious discussion.

Mexican Government decided that Digital TV transition is the best choice for managing the spectrum, but the Senate and House of Representatives disagree with that perception.

Each of these Bodies presented a Constitutional Controversy before the Supreme Court. The arguments are very interesting, but   I would like to focus on the outcome.

The core of the discussion was to define who has the authority to modify the Digital TV Decree, the Executive Power who signed it, or the Telecommunications Commission (COFETEL), as the specialized body.

The common argument used by those Justices was that COFETEL, a body that is anchilliary to Ministry of Transport and Communications (SCT), has autonomy in relation to management the spectrum.

Another argument is that only the Congress has the authority to rule on Telecommunications, which materially this Decree does, and the authority of COFETEL is exclusive for radio and TV arisen out from the Telecom Law.

On the other hand, some arguments showed in the fashion that  COFETEL is subordinated to SCT and the President himself and autonomy for managing the spectrum are not substituted, just delegated.

In the end, 7 Justices of 11 from the Court declared Decree inconstitutional. 1 more Justice was needed for that. According to the Supreme Court rules, this number does not declare Inconstitutional the Decree for everyone, but for people who specifically request so by Amparo proceeding (Contitutional Trial).

Telecom companies will file for Amparo proceeding for sure, and then, Supreme Court will need to decide on the core of the discussion: What is the best use for the Mexican Spectrum?

About the author

Alberto Esenaro

I am a Mexican lawyer with experience in technology, energy, automotive, infrastructure and business. Worked for law firms, international companies and Government bodies on business advice, regulatory compliance and litigation.

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By Alberto Esenaro

About Author

Alberto Esenaro

I am a Mexican lawyer with experience in technology, energy, automotive, infrastructure and business. Worked for law firms, international companies and Government bodies on business advice, regulatory compliance and litigation.

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