Anatel director Luiz Tito Cerasoli last week virtually ruled out any possibility of changes in the regulatory framework to allow mergers and acquisitions leaving only two incumbent local exchange carriers instead of the present four. Executives of some LECs have recently lobbied for consolidation, as has Daniel Dantas, controlling shareholder in Opportunity. Mr Cerasoli said the law could allow consolidation among LECs in 2003, but a final decision will be taken by Anatel?s board. At present the board is opposed to any such move, he stressed. The directors all believe it?s crucial to keep four LECs in order to ensure at least a degree of competition. On the mooted separation of network owners and service providers, as proposed by Congressman Alberto Goldman (PSDB, São Paulo), Mr Cerasoli said it?s a complex idea that requires more time for thought and debate.