The insecurity in the country caused by organized crime is already affecting the telecommunications sector. Companies in the sector report cases of infrastructure seizures, barriers to deploying fiber optics and even ‘uplifting’ of technicians.
“These are factual barriers to entry (by organized crime) that are not contemplated in the law and that not even the regulatory entity (IFT) can control… These circumstances prevent an operator from deciding to enter (the market) and when decides to do so is withdrawn by the factual force of a threat by such a powerful group,” said Juan Carlos Fernández Hernández, legal corporate attorney for Megacable.
This situation has also become a factor that affects the ability of companies to expand their service coverage in some parts of the country, in addition to the lack of competition, which ends up directly affecting users.
According to Megacable’s legal corporate attorney, this situation began to worsen in the last quarter of last year and has continued during the first quarter of 2022. Areas such as Bajío, the northern part of the Gulf of Mexico, Guerrero and Oaxaca are hotspots red for these types of crimes of factual barriers to entry and vandalism.
Four years ago, Megacable had to delay its coverage plan in Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, due to the insecurity in that part of the country. “Since (organized crime organizations) kidnap certain plazas, we face these circumstances in which they ‘lift’ the engineer and interrogate him to find out what they are doing. Fortunately, they have not been major things. You go with your engineers and your crews to lay the fiber (optics) and they don’t let you (install it) or they ask you for a floor right to be able to do it, they even give you schedules. We have never accepted a negotiation and we have never opened channels for something like this to be proposed to us. We simply cut off dialogue and leave, ”said Juan Carlos Fernández.
But this situation is not only exclusive to Mégacable, it has also happened to Izzi, Marcatel Axtel, Telmex.
Vandalism also ‘disconnects’
Separately, Enrique Yamuni, CEO of Megacable, explained that other barriers to expanding connectivity coverage in the country is vandalism, which in the last four years has become more recurrent, especially in areas such as Jalisco, Coauhuila, State of Mexico, part of the Bajío, Querétaro Guanajuato and Michoacán.
Megacable has approached prosecutors from the entities to investigate the cases, however there have been no arrests yet. For this reason, Yamuni considers that this type of crime, which is considered federal, should be punished more rigorously. Today, although there are reports of vandalism, it is very difficult for the authorities to find the culprits.
The director assures that what most worries Megacable about these crimes is not the economic loss that it may represent for the company, but rather the effects that it brings to users.
“There are effects on the service, but more than anything, the effect is on the users: a fiber cut takes an hour or even longer to locate it and then it takes us another five hours to make the fiber work again. During all this type, users are affected, from people who do remote work, to restaurants, because you cut off the phone to these businesses and people,” he assured.