After having fought for years through Jazztel and to end Telefonica’s monopoly and to reach the so-called liberalization of telecommunications in Spain, it ends up that now with FON I have found another monopoly in which not even Telefonica has a chance: the Airports in Spain.

AENA, the agency that manages all airports in Spain, granted to itself the exclusive right to regulate all telecommunications in Spanish airports and also granted the monopoly rights to WiFi to unknown operators. In other words, these operators paid AENA for something that AENA does not have the authority to give. Thus, AENA prohibits FON from entering into agreements with stores in Spanish airports to have them install FON and offer free WiFi to FONeros and to charge non-FONeros only 2 to 3 EUR a day for WiFi (which is much cheaper than what users are now being charged while they wait for their flights).

In the US, airports tried to play the same game of monopoly, but the FCC stopped them in their tracks and adopted a decision on October 17th, permitting Continental Airlines to install and offer WiFi access in its airport lounge in Boston. This decision sets a precedent which breaks the monopoly rights that airports had previously been giving to operators. In the words of the FCC decision, Massport (the agency that manages Boston’s airport) “has no right to operate the WiFi backbone free from interference from other WiFi devices including Continental´s WiFi device …”

I believe that the Spanish communications regulator, the CMT, should step in and intervene with regards to Spanish airports, as did the FCC. It is the CMT, and not AENA, who is authorized by law to regulate telecommunications. WiFi everywhere! Be it offered openly or through FON. Let the stores and companies at the airports install the router of their choice. FON wants to put the La Foneras in the airports in Madrid, Barcelona, and the rest of Spain.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter:

No Comments

Yffic De Smaele on November 10, 2006  · 

Antoin O Lachtnain on November 10, 2006  · 

Janet Bryce on December 25, 2006  · 

Leave a Comment

Español / English

Subscribe to e-mail bulletin:
Recent Tweets