A proposal put before the federal Chamber of Deputies this week by Clemente Castaneda, a Citizens Movement (MC) representative from Jalisco, aims to supply every Mexican citizen with free wifi, as long as they are in possession of an internet-capable mobile device.
Many countries – most notably, South Korea, Norway, Hong Kong, Sweden and Switzerland – successfully provide their citizens with fast internet whose cost is either nominal or entirely free. In Mexico, free wifi is available at certain public places in cities around the country, but service is often extremely slow or non-functional. Castañeda’s proposal would bring users free wifi vis-a-vis their individual service providers, guaranteeing a reliable connection.
The initiative would, however, come with a price tag of sorts: the internet service providers, instead of charging their own customers for a free connection, would instead shift the cost to the Federal Communications Institute, which would have a special budget allocated for the purpose of remitting payment to the companies.
“We in the MC are very aware that this initiative will have important budgetary repercussions, which makes it all the more important to place it at center stage during discussions of the new (federal) budget,” Castañeda said during his presentation.
The proposed law can be seen as being related to the larger discussion around net neutrality, the proponents of which seek to keep the internet out of the hands of ISPs who seek, they say, to manipulate and interfere with the content available to users according to how it affects their own profit margins.