Edmundo Matarazzo, Anatel?s head of universal access oversight, announced Wednesday, June 4, the proposed changes to the General Universalization Target Plan (Portuguese-language acronym PGMU) put out for public consultation in December 2002. He made the announcement at the end of a public hearing held by Anatel in Brasília.
Anatel?s board of directors voted on the proposed PGMU at a public meeting on Thursday, June 5. The Plan will be forwarded to the Communications Ministry for review. The Presidency is responsible for publication. The rapporteur to the board is Antônio Carlos Valente.
The proposal maintains unchanged the original definition of a public payphone and includes a new definition of a public-access terminal (access to data and Internet services as well as voice). The definition of a ?telecommunications service post? has been simplified and now reads ?a set of instruments for collective use comprising public payphones and public-access terminals?.
The definition of a locality has been redrafted to remove the term ?non-adjacent?, which received a large number of complaints during the public hearing, from Telefonica among others. Definitions of a co-op and ?co-op service unit? have been added in order to provide clearer specifications for universal access in rural areas.
Another new item relates to voice mail, defined as ?use of a voice mail box by customers who do not have access to individual fixed-line telephone service?. According to the contributions submitted at the hearing by representatives of three incumbent local exchange carriers ? Brasil Telecom, CTBC, and Telemar ? this service is an effective means of reaching out to low-income consumers. Nevertheless, when questioned by Anatel director Antonio Carlos Valente all three acknowledged that their service offerings don?t currently include voice mail.