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Argentine Government Orders Major ISP To Close

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the pack-your-stuff-and-get-out dept.

Government 152

Doctor Jonas writes "Argentine ISP Fibertel has been barred from continuing operations because of the dissolution of their status as a company after they were absorbed by Cablevisión of Argentina, now part of media conglomerate Grupo Clarín. The Minister of Planning, Julio de Vido, announced the measure, and said it was Grupo Clarín's own doing by having shut down the Fibertel company and turning it into a commercial brand, and that ISP licenses are not transferable after acquisitions from one company to the other. The Argentine opposition said the move was another attack on Grupo Clarín's standing and another part of the feud between them and President Cristina Fernández and her husband, former president Nestor Kirchner. Cablevisión has promised to go to the courts to overturn the decision, and the opposition seeks to protect Fibertel's continuing operations through a bill in Congress. More than a million households and businesses would need to change ISPs in merely 90 days, possibly strengthening the internet provisioning dominance of both Telefónica (subsidiary of the Spanish Telefonica) and Telecom."

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So what? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33329344)

Pffft. Who cares?

I don't. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33329498)

South Americans have broadband? They're probably not even circumcised. Savages.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33330360)

The Minister of Planning

The very thought of that sends chills down libertarian spines and thrills up progressives' legs.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33330808)

Progressive != Socialist (though they do often coincide as well as having similar goals in certain areas). Progressivism is the pursuit of social and legal reform, progress if you will, with the aim of making our society a fairer easier place to live for all involved. Socialism is partial or total government control over certain industries and redistribution of wealth, the idea being that in some areas the free market will produce sub-optimal solutions (basically any area where your ideal outcome isn't necessarily maximum profit, where companies could/would take advantage of private citizens or where people would suffer unduly without government aid). While socialists and progressives can be one and the same its quite possible to support one ideology without supporting the other (this usually comes up with groups like Christian-Socialists who's religious background simultaneously compels them to render aid unto the needy and be socially conservative or in the opposite case of non-socialist progressive in certain strains of libertarian (ironic, given the post I'm replying to) who support progressive social reform (though obviously not of the legally enforced variety, that running counter to libertarianism) .).

Note: I'm in favor of a lot of both socialist and progressive policies, and while I disagree with most core libertarian principles and find most self identified 'libertarians' (read: rebadged conservatives) to be annoying and insincere there are a number of libertarian positions that I agree with so, in short, my above statement was not a value judgment, merely a factual correction.

PS And yes fellow AC, I realize that you're trolling, but many make such statements in all seriousness so I felt the need to correct.

PPS IN the spirit of posting AC, CHOKE ON A DICK DONKEYFUCKER

Progressives vs. Socialists (1)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 4 years ago | (#33331022)

I'd say Socialists are a proper subset of Progressives.

Progressives tend to be not just in favor of progress towards a better world, but in favor of government policies that will make a world they consider better.

There are two ways to give the government power to enact such policies: government ownership (Socialism) and government regulation. Socialism has a bad rap these days, so people who seek to make the government stronger tend to work for more regulation, such as the recent healthcare reform.

However, the difference is cosmetic. If the government decides what will be offered and at what price, it would not matter if the company officially has shareholders and calls itself private.

Brazil is a country (0, Offtopic)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 4 years ago | (#33329354)

They engage in politics. This is an exciting development.

Special constitutional provisions? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33329398)

I thought I read somewhere that any Brazilian woman willing to show her ass via webcam has a constitutional right to free Internet access? Anyone know where can I find some hot Brazilian women? I want to help them keep their free access to the Internet.

Re:Special constitutional provisions? (0, Offtopic)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 4 years ago | (#33329420)

Not the same thing.
For Brazilians hot women are an essential part of their national identity. There's a reason why Brazil is famous for the women at the carnival in Rio.

Re:Brazil is a country (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33329466)

Brazil is a country.

Argentina is a different country.

For some of us, this apparently is an exciting development.

Re:Brazil is a country (0, Redundant)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 4 years ago | (#33329478)

Where did I see Brazil? I'm not high. I promise.

Re:Brazil is a country (1)

udippel (562132) | more than 4 years ago | (#33330666)

Where did I see Brazil?
In your own subject line. And 'high' up in the title of the post to which you replied. OMG

Brazil is a movie (1)

yyxx (1812612) | more than 4 years ago | (#33329602)

Somewhere in the 20th century.

News For Nerds (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33329370)

Can anybody or the editors explain the relevance to "my rights online" of this story, or why it would be considered news for nerds? It sounds like a business decision that was made in a country in South America that for the most part is not relevant to readers of this site.

I'm just scratching my head trying to understand what the point of posting this story to slashdot is.

Re:News For Nerds (4, Informative)

mfarah (231411) | more than 4 years ago | (#33329394)

Can anybody or the editors explain the relevance to "my rights online" of this story,

Politics can have effects on all of us, even if we don't care about politics.

Re:News For Nerds (5, Insightful)

Galestar (1473827) | more than 4 years ago | (#33329692)

Just because it doesn't have any effect on you doesn't mean it doesn't affect anyone, say, in Argentina. Although most /. readers may be anti-corporate, the idea that a government can just hand-wave and shutdown a major ISP is somewhat unsettling. Even though this doesn't affect me personally, I would still consider this a "rights" issue - as in the right to choose one's ISP, without the government interfering and saying who can and who can't be an ISP.

Re:News For Nerds (5, Informative)

alexborges (313924) | more than 4 years ago | (#33329402)

There are slashdot readers in most of the world. And yes, the world IS not the usa. And by the way, just so you know, telefónica IS part of the third largest financial group in the world. Welcome to earth, usaian

Re:News For Nerds (1, Funny)

404 Clue Not Found (763556) | more than 4 years ago | (#33329834)

Earth... is that some new state we annexed?

An by the way, you have this weird thing above your "o" in telefonica. Better get that keyboard checked. What is telefonica, anyway? Sounds like a Taco Bell special.

Re:News For Nerds (1)

dtoffe (799874) | more than 4 years ago | (#33329930)

Earth... is that some new state we annexed?

Sir, given the current state of international politics, you truly honour your nickname, don't you ?

Re:News For Nerds (3, Insightful)

Cantus (582758) | more than 4 years ago | (#33330202)

He's just playing a character: the ignorant American. I'm from a country south of the border and I'm not the least bit offended by him. I actually thought it was funny. Lighten up!

Re:News For Nerds (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33330270)

It looks he was playing the average usamerican.

Re:News For Nerds (0, Offtopic)

Urkki (668283) | more than 4 years ago | (#33330772)

Wooosh... (And same for the mods who modded GP troll).

Re:News For Nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33330890)

Taco Bell special, bah. According to what I've heard about american operators it's probably capped, slow and costly.

Re:News For Nerds (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | more than 4 years ago | (#33331002)

and has a lot of "friends in high places" in Latin America if you know what I mean "nudge nudge", "wink wink"

Re:News For Nerds (5, Insightful)

keeboo (724305) | more than 4 years ago | (#33329496)

Well, I'm not from Argentina and the news are interesting to me.
If you're not interested, just jump to the next news. No need to be an ass.

Re:News For Nerds (3, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#33329594)

Well - it doesn't say "Your rights online IN AMERICA", does it? It looks to me that some country is diddling around with their citizens rights to get online with the company of their choice. Rights. Online. OK, maybe it has little to do with YOUR rights, but then, who the hell are YOU?

Re:News For Nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33330068)

Well - it doesn't say "Your rights online IN AMERICA", does it? It looks to me that some country is diddling around with their citizens rights to get online with the company of their choice. Rights. Online. OK, maybe it has little to do with YOUR rights, but then, who the hell are YOU?

Well depending where in the world you went to school. Argentina is in America or is one of the Americas.

Re:News For Nerds (2, Informative)

mangu (126918) | more than 4 years ago | (#33331758)

Argentina is in America or is one of the Americas.

Actually, South America is the original America.

When Amerigo Vespucci explored the coast of Brazil in the early 1500s the data he brought back to Europe was used by a cartographer [wikipedia.org] to draw a map where the land was named America in his honor. The naming of North America came later.

In conclusion, and at the risk of being moderated "flamebait", I must say that to me a citizen of North America calling himself an American is more or less like a citizen of West Virginia calling himself a Virginian. Not quite correct historically, but OK, so what.

Re:News For Nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33330134)

For the rest of us who didn't grow up in the US, we were taught in school that America is ONE continent, which is separated in North, Central and South America. Only you in your little bubble think that America is a country. Fuck you sir.

Re:News For Nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33331782)

Well - it doesn't say "Your rights online IN AMERICA", does it? It looks to me that some country is diddling around with their citizens rights to get online with the company of their choice. Rights. Online. OK, maybe it has little to do with YOUR rights, but then, who the hell are YOU?

Actually Argentina is in America...

Re:News For Nerds (4, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 4 years ago | (#33330434)

Can anybody or the editors explain the relevance to "my rights online" of this story, or why it would be considered news for nerds?

It's about "rights" because one of the corporations involved, Grupo Clarín, is a media company that has an editorial policy that opposes the current government of Argentina.

It's not a business decision, it's a political decision, and a frightening one.

Amazing (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33329400)

Banana republic behaves like one. News at eleven!!!

So what? (5, Informative)

cachimaster (127194) | more than 4 years ago | (#33329406)

I'm one of the affected million and I will have to change ISPs. Fibertel used to throttle youtube all the time, but apart from that the service was good, if a little expensive. They are part of a huge news-controlling monopoly, broke the law, and they got what they deserve. There are many choices of broadband internet over here, so I basically don't give a sh*t.

Mod Up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33329416)

It's informative, I am out of mod points. Please mod up.

Re:So what? (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 4 years ago | (#33329436)

There are many choices of broadband internet over here, so I basically don't give a sh*t.

Good for the people affected.
But it still doesn't seem like a smart move to piss off more than a million voters just to fuel a feud between two politicians.

Re:So what? (2, Informative)

santix (1234354) | more than 4 years ago | (#33329484)

I totally agree. In this case the government just applied the law. It is questioned because the measure happened to be against a big group (they own a lot of media; TV, newspapers, radios...) which is opposed to the actual government. But that ISP was providing its services without a license totally aware of it. So in this case justice was served.

Re:So what? (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#33331316)

Hold it a second, you have to have a license to provide Internet access to people? And you are OK with that? You are OK with the government deciding who can and cannot be an ISP?

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33331756)

The goverment doesn't decide WHO can and can not be an ISP. The goverment just say WHAT you need to do in order to become one.
And I tottally agree with that.

Re:So what? (1)

santix (1234354) | more than 4 years ago | (#33331896)

Yes, sure. They establish requirements as they would for anyone who wants to run a business. But it's not that they can say "Hey, I don't like your face, you don't get a license". In this case there was a merger a couple of years ago which was illegal and was the reason they took their license away (justice seldom works here and when it does it's real slow, that's why it took so long).

Re:So what? (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#33329524)

So, what's the deal with the 1st lady (do you call them that there?) becoming president?
I thought the various kennedies and then Bush and Bush Jr were bad enough, but a husband and wife switching off as president? Do you have term limits? Because it sounds like a really transparent way to get around a presidential term limit.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33329570)

You do remember that Hillary Clinton was running for President, eh? I doubt I know much more about Argentinian politics than you, and I don't disagree about the idea of getting fresh heads in office, but your comment is a tad sexist there.

Re:So what? (3, Interesting)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 4 years ago | (#33329672)

You're probably not old enough to remember, but Lurleen Wallace [wikipedia.org] was elected to replace her husband as Governor of Alabama in 1967 (Only one term per person there.) with the campaign slogan of "Let George do it."

Re:So what? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33330304)

There is a similar thing in Afganistan - the US set things up to favor women running for office, as a means to correct the extreme gender inequality of the country. It didn't take long for an exploit to be found: Women officially run, but on the openly known grounds that they are to defer to their husband in all matters and have their name on the ballot only for legal reasons.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33330352)

hah, that's horrible.

This is why we need same-sex marriage in the united states. WHO KNOWS HOW MANY SECRET GAY LOVERS ARE SWAPPING SEATS, SKIRTING TERM LIMITS WITH A MASTER PUPPETEER CONTROLLING FROM BEHIND!

And don't get me started on the polyamory. If they don't have legal rights, how will we know!?! AN ARMY OF COMPLICATED LOVERS TREATING THE GOVERNOR'S SEAT LIKE AN ORGY SEAT OF THE MONTH, WITH THE MAIN MAN IN CHARGE FOR DECADES.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33329686)

[quote]You do remember that Hillary Clinton was running for President, eh?[/quote]

I don't like dynasties so I would have had a similar problem with her.

but your comment is a tad sexist there.

What? Because my US examples of the kennedies and the bushes were all men? Because the current Argentinian president is female? Just how is gender even an issue?

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33330328)

mmm...I was a bit lazy in how emphasize the "tad" part of that.

BUT to answer your question, the comment was a bit sexist because you do not seem to know anything about Argentine politics. Yet it reads (as in, don't know what you actually intended) that there is the assumption that the original president / husband is the main player in the dynasty. As opposed to the new president / wife being the one to skirt term limit by being a puppet master for the first term.

You may disagree, and I understand there are many meanings that could be read from that. This is a really boring comment, sorry!

Re:So what? (2, Informative)

tannnk (810257) | more than 4 years ago | (#33330170)

You may want to take a look at wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cristina_Fern%C3%A1ndez_de_Kirchner [wikipedia.org] "She won with 45.3% of the vote, a 22% lead over her nearest rival. This was the widest margin obtained by a candidate since civil rule was reinstalled in 1983, and avoided the need for a runoff election." "In 1995, Fernández was elected to represent Santa Cruz in the Senate. She was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1997, and in 2001, returned to the Senate." And I must say in Argentina there is a two-term limit, but it was his husband's first term when she got elected. Last year the congress passed a bill changing the law ruling communications. The old law was there since the last dictatorship and among other things prohibited NGO to own a media, even a small radio station. Now the big media conglomerates are criticising every action the government takes because their well-protected monopolies are going to disappear (they'll have to un-invest in all the companies they absorved just to avoid different editorial lines). Grupo Clarin (Clarin Group) is the biggest of these conglomerates and states this is an attack to them, but the reality is that they were operating an ISP illegaly without a license and the measure taken by the government was executed according to law.

Re:So what? (2, Informative)

santix (1234354) | more than 4 years ago | (#33331958)

Yes, we call them 1st Lady. There are term limits: 4 years and 2 consecutive administrations. But this goverment (wife and husband) is not known for its transparency. They are agressive, rely on patronage and are constantly lying and distorting the reality of the country (statistics are compromised, there is a huge insecurity problem which is labeled as a "sensation"). I always find it hard to explain to people from other countries what the reality of this country is since it is so corrupted at every single level, that they can't often believe it.

Re:So what? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#33329574)

This is the second time in the comments to this story I've seen Grupo Clarin referred to as a "monopoly". What's the market that they effectively own?

Re:So what? (4, Informative)

Nicopa (87617) | more than 4 years ago | (#33329610)

Grupo Clarín owns the national major newspaper, and seems to control the 2nd major one. It owns TV channels in every town and city, and in many cities is the only cable operator. It controls the only newspaper paper plant in Argentina and uses prices to undermine other newspapers.

As I explained in another comment, this is really about the government trying to stop a new merger, because Clarin had acquired the 2nd largest cable company in Argentina. The govt rejected the merger, but Clarín went ahead and dissolved the company, creating for itself an illegal situation (because the ISP license belonged to the old comany, which is now dissolved).

We are here in very interesting times regarding the role of journalism, and the fight agains media giants...

Re:So what? (2, Insightful)

kwanbis (597419) | more than 4 years ago | (#33329674)

Weird how this same government approved the merger they are trying to stop now. Yes, it was former president Nestor Kirchner the one who approved the merger. Now, somehow Cristina Kirchner, the ex president wife suddenly realizes is a bad merge. Strange, isn't it?

Re:So what? (1)

Nicopa (87617) | more than 4 years ago | (#33330198)

Yes, weird. Still, it's better for the people what they are doing now, not what they did before. The Multicanal-Cablevision merger is (was?) obviously a disaster for us consumers.

Re:So what? (3, Informative)

tannnk (810257) | more than 4 years ago | (#33330324)

They have bought media companies all around the country. They bought tv stations in every major city and shut down local programming. They produce everything in Buenos Aires and it's seen in the whole country. It won't boe a problem if there were local alternatives, but since Clarin bought them... The same goes with newspapers and radio station. Now, they owned a cable company named Multicanal. The only competence was Cablevision, but they have divided coverage areas so they don't overlap, so there was no real competence. They provided cablemodem service over Multicanal, but it was really shitty and nobody used it. What they did is buy stakes from foreign holders of Cablevision so they could control both cable companies, and now they have done a customer reacomodation, meaning that you had multicanal and now you have cablevision and multicanal has no customers. Fibertel (The ISP) was a company owned by the same owners of Cablevision. Fibertel was licensed to provide cablemodem, but Cablevision was denied, so the trick was Fibertel owning the cable wires and providing internet access, and Cablevision "renting" fibertel's network and providing cable signal. If you had the two services, you had to pay two bills separately. On Jan 15 Grupo Clarin made Cablevision absorb Fibertel, dissolving Fibertel's legal personality, but intended to use the license granted to Fibertel. In Argentine law, in a regulated communications market, these licences are not transferibles, so that was not approved by the government and were told to stop subscribing new customers. They didn't stop, and tryed to keep operating illegaly.

Re:So what? (1)

kwanbis (597419) | more than 4 years ago | (#33329650)

So, you are saying it has nothing to do with the ex-president Nestor personal vendetta against grupo Clarin? Isn't it weird that it was former president Nestor itself who approved Clarin purchase of Fibertel, and that now that he no longer likes Clarin his wife is doing this? Kirchner's presidencies have been 2 of the most corrupted and terrible governments we have had. So sad.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33329984)

It isn't wierd, it's strategic. Goverment in this country is getting almost childish in some aspects.

Regardin ISP offerings, it's really all the same crap all over the place. Some have Fibertel and works like a charm, other with the same ISP is utter-bullshit (mainly for those who live on "microcentro"). The same happens with other ISPs. And what about the costs? Everything about technology is expensive... 120 AR$ for a ADSL 3MB service isn't precisely cheap...

Re:So what? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33329682)

I used to have Fibertel. It was complete shit. Even worse than Comcast is in the USA. They have bad, spotty and throttled service in some areas, but they are the only cablemodem provider in Argentina.

Nonetheless, this is yet another move in the continuing struggle between the current government and grupo Clarín. (http://www.argentinepost.com/2009/09/with-help-from-clarin-kirchner-rises-from-the-ashes.html http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/09/13/kirchner-and-clarin-argen_n_285105.html)

Even when I don't particularly like neither Fibertel as a company nor the Clarín media conglomerate, I really despise the current government/mafia. They have close ties to Chávez, and the only reason we are not to become Venezuela is because this country still has a Middle Class, despite this people attempts to destroy it.

Don't confuse yourself, this people aren't nice guys that just realised that a private company were doing something illegal. They are pushing an agenda, they don't give two shits about legality as long as they are getting their millionaire bribes.

For Spanish speaking people, this is the people currently in our government: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRaDHhJAvGQ http://www.lanacion.com.ar/nota.asp?nota_id=1296271

Re:So what? (1)

Alexandra Erenhart (880036) | more than 4 years ago | (#33330166)

As a chilean, is sad to see how our neighbours are having bad times with their government. They used to pick on us chileans to make themselves look good, now they don't even do that! (joking, joking). I hope you guys get your shit together and make a revolution or something. Argentines are known for their personality, use it!

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33329754)

That there are many choices of broadband is a blatant lie. Clarin Group should be forced to sell Fibertel to other company (not to the big 2 telcos) and that's all.

Re:So what? (5, Informative)

goruka (1721094) | more than 4 years ago | (#33329980)

I'm argentinian too, (and I'm affected) and let me fill up fellow slashdotters a little more on this. Grupo Clarin is a _huge_ media monopoly and the second largest company in the country. They own pretty much everything, every of the most relevant newspaper, cable TV company, Air TV signal, radio, broadband, media producers, etc. Until recently they have also all the monopoly on broadcasting all soccer games (soccer is big here). They slowly acquired monopoly status thanks to laws passed during dictatorship times (which they favored).

Grupo Clarin's reach is so large that they control most of the public thinking, and many times helped coups or to overthrow presidents that didn't get along well with them. They used to be in a good relationship with the current government until a few years ago, when something mysterious happened and they became enemies (it's not certain what happened, but most likely that the government blocked them access to entering them into telephony, by favoring other companies, so they couldn't expand their monopoly). As a result, every single day the largest newspapers, TV channels, etc attack the government in any way they can, fabricating negative scenarios, taking government claims out of context, etc, reducing significantly the positive image of the president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

The government, in exchange, started passing several anti-monopoly laws to break Grupo Clarin, revoking their licenses, taking their grants for soccer broadcasting away, as well as prosecuting them for the crimes they committed during dictatorship.

As a personal view, I feel my fellow argentinians are too blinded by the two-way hate, and too worried about taking sides, that don't realize this mutual destruction between the media monopoly and the current government (one of the most corrupt governments in our history) is probably very beneficial for the country, as it's like killing two birds with one stone..

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33330620)

As a result, every single day the largest newspapers, TV channels, etc attack the government in any way they can, fabricating negative scenarios, taking government claims out of context, etc, reducing significantly the positive image of the president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

Sounds like Grupo Clarin is sort of the Fox News of Argentina (to put it in terms that will inflame slashdotters.)

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33330934)

As a result, every single day the largest newspapers, TV channels, etc attack the government in any way they can, fabricating negative scenarios, taking government claims out of context, etc, reducing significantly the positive image of the president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

Lol party line.

Re:So what? (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#33331330)

That's basically the role of the intellectual left in Latin America.

Re:So what? (1)

Punto (100573) | more than 4 years ago | (#33330548)

The debate over whether or not they broke law is misleading, because they broke a law that requires you to get permission from the government to provide internet access. Why would I have to do that? I don't want my government to get involved with me and my internet provider. What good have they done with that "power" anyway? (other than force them to shut down apparently). The "license to provide internet" shouldn't have to exist, so far it's only been a tool for the government to control them for their own benefit.

Re:So what? (1)

Al_Maverick (939029) | more than 4 years ago | (#33330940)

You need a license to drive, a license to own a restaurant, and a license to do pretty much anything else in most any civilized country. Don't pretend now that requiring a license to provide internet is an unsurmountable requirement. Cablevision shot itself in the foot. It was cheap to keep Fibertel open, but they couldn't to that, because they are way too cheap. And I've been an employee on the other ISP of the group, so I know how really really cheap and clueless they are. On top of that, add the packet shaping, throttling, and spying your traffic (for legal reasons, mostly)

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33331524)

Requiring a license to provide internet is a barrier to the freedom of expression, a natural and fundamental right, and is intrinsically different than requiring a license to drive or to provide food.

As a fellow South American, it's really sad to see the current state of Argentina. I thought about setting up a branch office in Buenos Aires due to a cheap and high qualified work force (relative to Rio de Janeiro, where I am) but things like that are going to drive me away from it. Argentinean politics reminds me of Brazil in the 60ies. It's sad since it used to be a way better country than Brazil or Chile but today it's seems like it's going down the Bolivia route.

Re:So what? (1)

mordejai (702496) | more than 4 years ago | (#33330792)

Good luck with getting a new provider during the following 3 months.

Delays are bad enough when they _don't_ have 1000000 people to absorb.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33330990)

I'm Argentine living overseas, and Fibertel was always awful. The lie, cheat and deliver shitty, throttled connections. In any other country they would have been sued out of existence by now.

Not to mention their awful eyesore coaxial network, made on top of crappy poles - did you know all that stuff is illegal and has been illegal since they started?

Every time they had a problem they blamed "microcortes" (microcuts) as if that existed at all.

Microbullshit. May they rot in hell.

Wrong URL (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33329414)

The URL is not Fibertel.com. Is fibertel.com.ar

Faco (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33329464)

"More than a million households and businesses would need to change ISPs in merely 90 days"

Technically, yes. In reality, not quite. Since Grupo Clarin will sue for its rights, the shut down of the company won't happen until all the trials are finished. Since justice takes a long time in Argentina, it will be some months before the users have to switch ISPs, and there is the chance that the trials carry on way past october 2011, when the next president is elected, so the decision may be overturned before it actually takes effect.

Still, there is a lot of misinformation on this story around here, so some people still believe the company is already shutting down, which is draining their customer base. Also, until the justice rules on the case, Fibertel won't be able to sell its service to new customers, to the advantage of other ISPs.

I myself have been using Fibertel for the past 5 years and had no complaint so far. Still, they do belong to Grupo Clarin, which is a huge monopoly around here, so the decision is not all that ilogical.

it kind of makes sense (4, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#33329474)

in north america, cablevision are the victimizers

but in south america, cablevisión are the victimized

it has to do with everything in reverse in the antipodes: summer is winter, night is day, good is bad, and i believe gravity works in reverse down there

Re:it kind of makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33329492)

Good thing, too, or all those people would fall off!

Re:it kind of makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33329820)

fall on, it's the opposite.

You know what that means... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33329522)

In Soviet Russia, Major ISP closes YOU!

Re:it kind of makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33329528)

I heard people in the southern hemisphere shove food up their butt and crap out their mouths.

Re:it kind of makes sense (1)

tannnk (810257) | more than 4 years ago | (#33330192)

Night is day? Our timezone is GMT -3, I think you are getting all wrong. And no, we are far away from your antipodes.

Re:it kind of makes sense (1)

game kid (805301) | more than 4 years ago | (#33330474)

in north america, cablevision are the victimizers

...

it has to do with everything in reverse in the antipodes: ...

I suddenly have this fierce hope that Lucca and Marle cast Antipode [icybrian.com] on the Dolans [cablevision.com] .

Re:it kind of makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33331680)

And don't forget how the way the water drains in sinks and toilets is reversed, too. Fortunately, American embassies in those weird countries feature special toilets [wikipedia.org] to overcome this and give Americans all over the world the patriotic Freedom Flush they deserve!

hackers (0, Offtopic)

w00tsauce (1482311) | more than 4 years ago | (#33329506)

I blacklisted Argentina long time ago. That country is full of wallhacks.

This is really about antimonopoly measures (4, Interesting)

Nicopa (87617) | more than 4 years ago | (#33329572)

This is part of the intention by the government to stop the merger of the two biggest cable providers. The merger has already been done, despite it being rejected ( http://www.buenosairesherald.com/BreakingNews/View/10918 [buenosairesherald.com] ). The new merged company dissolved one of the parts, without getting the license to operate under the new company. So, now they are operating under a license belonging to a company which no longer exists.

The issue here is government vs media giants. Antimonopoly measures, which are common in developed countries, have a lot more opposition in non-developed countries, where economic interests go over the people's interest (yes, more than in the US =) ).

Re:This is really about antimonopoly measures (1)

mordejai (702496) | more than 4 years ago | (#33330774)

This is not an antimonopoly measure.

It's favoring one monopoly over another.

Capitalism vs Socialism (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33329622)

This is the difference between capitalism and socialism. In the U.S., the company would have just been fined every year that they didn't get a license. The company would eventually get a clue and start paying the lower fee over the larger fine, and operate legally. However, in Argentina, they just dissolve your company and screw all your customers. They screwed themselves out of all that tax money, fines, fees, and so on as well. It's a pretty poor move, and this is why companies prefer to do business with the United States.

I live in Argentina (4, Interesting)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 4 years ago | (#33329780)

So, allow me to provide a little bit more information on this subject.

Our current government has that schizophrenic touch that Bush had. Their policy is the same that Bush had: Helping their corporate friends, pushing an agenda.

Clarin is the largest spanish newspaper in the world. That includes all of Latin America + Spain. The Clarin Group, the holding behind the newspaper, also owns several other newspapers, several TV channels, publishing companies, and a lot of other companies in media and communications. It's one of the largest companies in South America, and it has huge worldwide influences.

They have been in a fight for market penetration and control of the media with Telefonica for 2 decades. Our former President Nestor Kirchner, Secretary General of the Union of South American Nations and husband of our current president, had overwhelming support from Clarin, they actually helped him to achieve the presidency. Later, their relationships got a lot more tense when Nestor Kirchner did a few deals with Telefonica. Eventually, Clarin had withdrawn thoverhwellmingeir support, and had became his number one public enemy.

Now, Nestor's wife (Cristina) is our president. Just like him, she's a fucking cunt, with a lot of personal interests that she has no moral issues pushing all the time, and a lot of friends to help out. Just like bush, they had interests in Oil companies, and in several big industries, and also in real estate. Pushing their own business is their only interest.

So, this is just a move to pressure the Clarin group. This is a way to silence the bad publicity they've been getting from Clarin lately. It's a douchebag move.

The worst thing about this is, Fibertel was owned by Cablevision. Later, with the approval of Nestor Kirchner, Clarin, through one of their subsidiaries (Multicanal: The Argentinian Comcast) bought Cablevision and therefore Fibertel. Now the government claims that data transmission licenses are nontransferable, and that therefore Fibertel is operating illegally. Also, Clarin owns almost 300 different licenses from several companies they have acquired throughout the years. That is highly irregular, and the government is using that as an excuse too.

The worst thing here is that there are not many alternatives in here where it comes to Internet access.

In Buenos Aires (Argentina's Capital City) and nearby cities (Metropolitan Area) there are several providers, such as iplan, fibertel, telefonica, telecom, telmex, telecentro, and others. In the rest of the country, the options are much more limited. There is surely one DSL provider (Either Telefonica's Speedy or Telecom's Arnet, and in most places there is also a cablemodem provider (Fibertel), a Wimax provider (Telmex), and some small local services, usually cooperatives or small wireless companies. And that's all. Telefonica sucks big time, both technically and commercially, and Fibertel is the only decent alternative, both technically and economically.

You can get a decent 3MB cablemodem from Fibertel for ~40 dollars (160 pesos).

Of course, Fibertel is not going to die. They are either going to appeal and win (or at least delay this for years to come), or sell the whole infrastructure to someone. Anyway, this is just the government reminding us that it can fuck with us whenever it wants.

Re:I live in Argentina (2, Informative)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 4 years ago | (#33329800)

Sorry to reply to myself, but I forgot about something:

The link in the article is wrong. Fibertel's webpage is fibertel.com.ar. Right now, when you enter the homepage, there is a clickthrough message before reaching the index that says they are going to continue providing their service, and that they are doing everything they can (legally) to continue providing their service.

Re:I live in Argentina (0)

Nicopa (87617) | more than 4 years ago | (#33329882)

So, if I understand you correctly... the Kirchners help corporate friends, and group Clarín is a good and big company that Argentinians should be proud of. Yet, in help of "their corporate friends", the Kirchner are pushing antimonopolic laws.

This is the kind of schizofrenia created by media monopolies on weak minds... =)

Re:I live in Argentina (1)

goruka (1721094) | more than 4 years ago | (#33330152)

Yes, and they are very effective, but, regardless of the weakness of mind, they are even more effective in Argentina because the people is still very susceptible to attacks against freedom of press and freedom of speech by the recent dictatorships. The media constantly publishes every move against them as attacks to freedom of press, or freedom of speech. In other countries, like Venezuela for example, people has shown to be less susceptible to media brainwash, and even did public demonstrations against TV stations that favored the failed coup.

Re:I live in Argentina (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#33331340)

Instead, they're more susceptible to Hugo Chavez's brainwashing.

Re:I live in Argentina (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 4 years ago | (#33331830)

So, if I understand you correctly... the Kirchners help corporate friends, and group Clarín is a good and big company that Argentinians should be proud of. Yet, in help of "their corporate friends", the Kirchner are pushing antimonopolic laws.

The Kirchners were glad to help Grupo Clarín build their monopoly as long as Grupo Clarín supported the Kirchner family political plans.

Now that Grupo Clarín has adopted an opposition editorial policy the Kirchners are trying to break up the monopoly they built.

That's why I'm a Libertarian at heart and believe that the government should stay as far away from the economy as possible.

Re:I live in Argentina (1)

goruka (1721094) | more than 4 years ago | (#33330102)

A few clarifications from another fellow Argentinian.

Our current government has that schizophrenic touch that Bush had. Their policy is the same that Bush had: Helping their corporate friends, pushing an agenda

This is common for every single government over the face of the planet Earth. If you want to be critic with a government, this is one of the most irrelevant topics to discuss.

It's one of the largest companies in South America, and it has huge worldwide influences.

This is true, but they exert most of their influence here, by controlling public opinion. They are so strong in the country that they ultimately decide who gets to be president, and who gets the boot treatment.

Just like him, she's a fucking cunt, with a lot of personal interests that she has no moral issues pushing all the time, and a lot of friends to help out.

Congratulations you have just described a politician. This is the kind of ignorant part of society that Clarin tries to take advantage of, by convincing the people that the government is dishonest and corrupt, while at the same time promoting other (friendly to them) politicans that are (completely proven to be) equally or even more dishonest and corrupt (Like Julio Cobos or Eduardo Duhalde).

Grupo Clarin has been "alerting" that the economy is going to crash and burn for years now, that we'd have to import meat and flours (Argentina is one of the largest producers of meat), that the country will enter default, etc. Nothing happened.

Grupo Clarin constantly alerts that crime is on the rise and the no one can live safely because anyone can be bloodily murdered at any time, all this while Argentina is one of the safest countries in South America.

Grupo Clarin alerts that corrupt deals are made within the government for a just few hundred thousand dollars. Come on, for you and me that's a lot of money (and of course, Clarin knows that) but for the amount a government moves it's nothing. Companies do "favors" between them (read, money laundry, bonuses, etc) for much, much higher amounts.

Grupo Clarin alerts that during the Kirchner government, both Cristina and Nestor (her husband) became even richer by a few millions.. and it's like.. dude, if you get to be _fucking_ _president_ you are doing more than ONE THING right in your life..

So just get over it, I'd like to see the anti-government arguments focus on REAL issues, like development, economy, employment, etc, not the ridiculous fabrications of the media everyone here is talking about. I'm really sick of so many non-issue discussions.

The worst thing here is that there are not many alternatives in here where it comes to Internet access. In Buenos Aires (Argentina's Capital City) and nearby cities (Metropolitan Area) there are several providers, such as iplan, fibertel, telefonica, telecom, telmex, telecentro, and others. In the rest of the country, the options are much more limited.

This is really another non-issue. Fibertel is one of the largest ISPs, but due to their natue (Cablemodem) their reach is limited to big cities. You may call yourself an Argentinian, but If you ever travelled inside the country, you'll realize that if you want "Cable TV" the only option is DirectTV, as Cablevision (the Cable provider over which Fibertel works) is only available on big cities. Only telephony provides cover the entire country via ADSL, so fibertel ALREADY is the ISP with the least coverage. So this political move is pretty much a huge favor to telephony companies by the government..

Sorry, you've been brainwashed.

Re:I live in Argentina (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33330204)

Sorry, but I don't need Grupo Clarin to tell me about crime rising in Argentina. I have enough friends that have been crime victims in the last few years to know for sure that crime IS rising, especially against older and weaker people, which are easy preys. The judicial system does not help because criminals have a lot more rights (or "garantías") than law abiding citizens, so it's really hard to keep them in prison. I would not say this is the worst government we've ever had because we've had a lot of really bad ones, but there is no good reason to be a big fan of the Kirchners either.

Re:I live in Argentina (1)

Cantus (582758) | more than 4 years ago | (#33330224)

"Clarin is the largest spanish newspaper in the world. That includes all of Latin America + Spain." [CITATION NEEDED]

"It's one of the largest companies in South America, and it has huge worldwide influences." [CITATION NEEDED]

Argentine self-aggrandizing is world-renowned so could you please back these up?

Re:I live in Argentina (1)

Nicopa (87617) | more than 4 years ago | (#33330298)

What's the need for offensive comments about other countries people? The kind of comments that are often the signature of a moron. Next time try to keep on the subject, without spitting insults and prejudice.

Re:I live in Argentina (1)

forand (530402) | more than 4 years ago | (#33330904)

I appreciate your effort in placing the article in a broader context. However, you skirted the main question: Does Cablevisión have the proper license to operate as an ISP in Argentina? While you have made it clear that your government can be corrupt and used to the benefit of your elected officials, you have not made it clear that they are not actually enforcing the laws. Having a license to operate an ISP is a reasonable measure any government would require. It helps to ensure they are abiding by common consumer protection laws and operating within their license spectrum/right of way. Finally, using derogatory terms, such as you have, in a political argument does not lend weight to your point of view but makes me suspect that you have an interest in the situation.

Re:I live in Argentina (1)

ochnap2 (657287) | more than 4 years ago | (#33330972)

You seem to be too much concentrated in hating the Kirchners to see anything clear, aren't you? Get over it...

Grupo Clarin is a monopoly, using it's many newspapers and tv channels it manipulates the news at a large scale to push the interests of the (few) tradicional "owners" of the country in detriment of everyone else. And not only that off course, many of it's bussiness practices, current and prior, are much less than pristine. The sooner they are divided in smaller companies the better for Argentina as a whole.

It's sad how gullible en are many of my fellow Argentinians, so credulous, so absent of critical thinking...

HERE IN ARG (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33329848)

Argentina's government is becoming Venezuela.

Some thoughts from Argentina (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33330026)

A bit of extra info from another argentinian. Don't expect to be enlightened though, since the situation is basically a gigantic clusterfuck with no easily discernible good or bad guys.

Grupo Clarín is Argentina's largest media conglomerate. It doesn't have a monopoly in anything because there is lots of competition, but it is the 500-pound gorilla in all the areas it competes in and in most of the markets it invests in. The largest newspaper (Clarín), one of the biggest tv networks, one of the largest cable networks, one of the largest cable ISPs (the one mentioned in the summary), the largest newspaper printer, etc. Whatever media-related thing you can name, they have some stake on it.

Grupo Clarín is also politically opposed the the current administration, the Kirchners (current president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and former president Nestor Kirchner), and the feeling is mutual. The battle between them has been raging for a few years, but in the past few 10 or so months things have become wild (I'd talk about sending the police to strip-search the sons of the owner of Grupo Clarin, but that would really make this go off-topic).

Last year a new law governing media and communications was passed on the last few days before the Kirchner's lost the majoritary control of Congress. The law made sweeping changes to the process of getting a license for broadcasting, ostensibly to avoid monopolies, but in practice setting things up so that the Government alone chooses who gets a license and who doesn't. Given the size of Grupo Clarin, some of the new license limits would mean it would have to forcibly drop many markets, or split itself to satisfy the new requirements. Moreover, given its enmity with the current administration, it's obvious Clarin would be hard-pressed to get more licenses in the future. The law has a lot of good points, but this much is evident to everybody, though whether you interpret it as good (since it would weaken some businesses large enough to be close to monopolies) or bad (since the government gets to choose who has a voice and who doesn't) varies.

That the government is ordering this Grupo Clarin owned ISP to close is just the latest spat in this long fight. One one side you have the government's arguments: that the license has caducated, and so they are merely enforcing the law, and that Grupo Clarin is a big bad monopoly anyways. On the other side, there's the fact that the ISP has been operating under this license for about six years and that the issue only comes up now, after the current government modified the laws, arguably as part of an ongoing battle against the very people they are now attacking with them.

On the technical side, there's the issue of what to do with the many users of this [very large] ISP. The other large ISPs can't possibly take this many new users in a year, much less in a 90-days timeframe. Moreover, this is a country-wide ISP; there are places where there simply isn't another choice (which many users have already pointed out).

To make things more interesting, there's the fact that the other large ISPs are the duopolic companies mentioned in the summary. They offer telephone and internet services, but not cable, and cable companies can also offer internet services, but no telephone, as the so-called triple play is not allowed here (so much for wanting to fight monopolies, I guess). The telephone companies inherited the state's phone lines. They will be the big winners in this whole thing, and it seems they have ties to the Kirchners as well.

I try to be neutral in giving you this info, but I guess you can see I tend to lean on the side of Grupo Clarin at least on this one. I'm less afraid of a big bad conglomerate whose products I can stop buying if I want, than of a government who can decide whether or not I should be allowed to hear what someone wants to say.

Re:Some thoughts from Argentina (1, Interesting)

Nicopa (87617) | more than 4 years ago | (#33330142)

Not neutral. The new law is not “setting things up so that the Government alone chooses who gets a license and who doesn't”, that's propaganda. The new law is just an anti-monopoly law.

Besides, you have your facts wrong. They haven't been operating illegally for several years. Fibertel was "dissolved" on Jan 15th, and the government has been warning the company for some time now. What happened now is not surprise for anyone but the uninformed.

Source: http://english.telam.com.ar/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9961:government-announces-end-of-fibertel-telecommunications-services-&catid=42:politics [telam.com.ar]

Presidents come and go, but Grupo Clarín has been controlling national politics for decades from the shadow. It will be a good thing to see it go.

Re:Some thoughts from Argentina (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#33331440)

the situation is basically a gigantic clusterfuck with no easily discernible good or bad guys.

Oh, I think it is pretty easy to identify bad guys. It seems pretty clear to me that in this case the government is among the bad guys. The only question is whether or not Grupo Clarin is also among the bad guys. Additionally from the various comments by other Argentinians, it seems obvious that there are no good guys in this case, the best Grupo Clarin can hope to be is "not one of the bad guys" in this particular case.

Abridged version (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33330092)

Large media conglomerate wants to overthrow the government. The government (legally, although curiously 4 years late) shuts down the conglomerate's cable ISP in retaliation. Most of the customers outside of Buenos Aires are left without options because there's only one big telco in each region, the local loop isn't unbundled and there aren't any other big cable companies in the country.

Nobody is left without options! (1)

tannnk (810257) | more than 4 years ago | (#33330230)

Come on!. There isn't a single spot in Argentina where Fibertel is the only ISP. Telecom and Telefonica are forced to bring service anywhere it is requested, because phone lines in Argentina are considered by law a Public Service. Cablevisión only brings cable where it will be profitable, and only some areas. I live in Córdoba, the second largest city of Argentina and my house is located 35 blocks away from downtown (Barrio Alto Alberdi, para los que conocen). I live 4 blocks from Cablevisión's technical headquarter and I don't have digital cable nor cablemodem coverage. Wherever Fibertel is, there was Telecom or Telefonica before.

Re:Nobody is left without options! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33331846)

Yes, but you're overlooking the fact that telefonica and telecom are no better, and this measure by the government, instead of fighting monopolies, is actually doing a disservice to the argentine public, who will be left with less choices.. isn't that worse?

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