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Brazilian minister hits out at bureaucracy, encourages local manufacturing

The Brazilian Minister of Communications, Paolo Bernado, has delivered a coruscating tirade against regulation over the deployment of mobile infrastructure, which he believes is stymieing mobile growth.

Speaking out against bureaucracy, Bernado said: “We have to make it easier to implement infrastructure… We need smaller antennas hidden in the environment but we also need to change the laws to encourage the construction of antennas.”

“I was asked the other day when LTE will become a reality in Brazil. My answer was 2050 because the laws you have mean the antennas have to be in neighbouring cities,” he said, mocking the ‘red tape’ culture of regulation that pervades the country. “How can I connect a school if I can’t erect an antenna near the school? We have to change this. The law needs to change.”

While he acknowledged that positive steps are being taken, noting that “the treasury has been removing taxes from equipment and civil construction works because to reach our objectives”, Bernado stated that more needed to be done to spread connectivity across the country in line with Brazil’s National Broadband Plan.

“We need to take this to everyone,” he said, noting that only 38% of homes in Brazil currently have internet access. “We need a plan to make access universal. We need to use all technologies available, for example in the Amazon we will need satellites for broadband. In the interior we will use LTE… We need LTE, we need to innovate. The development of LTE is very important. We’re betting that in a year we will have technology covered by LTE.”

As the country’s development moves forward, Bernado noted that it was extremely important that Brazil’s economy should benefit from the burgeoning telecom sector, saying: “We have policies that will demand products made in Brazil because it helps create jobs and trade. In my opinion this is a policy that is here to stay; it is reasonable for companies to invest to develop here in Brazil.”

The government has stipulated that a substantial amount of Brazil’s network equipment be manufactured domestically as a means of creating jobs and bolstering industry. Over 50% of investment into new technologies is supplied by the state, with Bernado stating that this was aimed at encouraging private sector participation. He added that locally developed infrastructure must be “available at fair prices.”

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