In JORNADAS 2020 “Digitization, key to the economic and social disruption of the pandemic”

Raúl Katz, Carlos Winograd with the moderation of: Ángel Melguizo, made a superficial conversation about digitization in LATAM. A theme to sharpen the pencil

“Public service regulations represent at its core a natural monopoly,” Winograd argued, “The consumer has hardly any alternatives. There is an excessive preference for the short term, and the risk of regulatory populism is very great.”

In the ATVC and CAPPSA JORNADAS held last week in Buenos Aires, Argentina in virtual format, Raúl Katz, Director of Business Strategy at the Columbia Institute for Tele-Information, within the framework of the panel on Economics and Digitization, National and Latin American Development and with whom Carlos Winograd, professor at the Paris School of Economics and former secretary of defense, competed in Argentina, with the moderation of Angel Melguizo, VP of External and Regulatory Affairs for AT&T DirecTV Latin America, put a hot topic on the table, but very lukewarm in a conversation that was most expected. “Digitization contributes to economic growth in infrastructure, human capital and workforce, State, economy, digitalization of homes and public policies and regulation. Argentina is currently demonstrating limited development in terms of digitizing production processes,” Katz explained.

Raúl Katz, Carlos Winograd, Ángel Melguizo

The media and participants expected numbers in the region and the challenges of an industry that agonizes for lack of agreements and negotiations between politicians, laws, and industry. An Argentina that currently has limited development, causes and possible solutions… Or at least as the panel’s title announced: The Key Digitization for the Economic and Social Disruption of the Pandemic. And we saw no examples of how digitization accompanies disruption.

In conclusion, the telecommunications consultant acknowledged that the pandemic “forces the regulatory framework and public policies to be rethread in a pragmatic and multidisciplinary manner”. “One of the keys,” he added, “will be to increase investment in digital infrastructure by deploying incentives to the private sector, focusing on development throughout the national territory.”

“Public service regulations represent at their core a natural monopoly. In these cases, it is usually socially optimal that there be only one provider. There is a potential confusion, this does not guarantee in any way universality,” Carlos Winograd argued at the beginning of his presentation. “The consumer, he continued, “has hardly any alternatives, since it is the State that regulates. There is an excessive preference for the short term, and the risk of regulatory populism is very great.”

With regard to fixed broadband in Argentina, Winograd provided some relevant data: there is currently 63% total coverage of households, it is the second in penetration (every 100 inhabitants) of Latin America’s major economies and has the lowest price in the region (17 out of 206 in the world.)

“Both the fixed broadband market pay TV and telecommunications are widely competitive sectors in Argentina. DNU 690 applies a strange phraseology when talking about “public service in competition”, as it is a definition that does not exist in national administrative law and in international law,” he explained.

“The TIC sector is highly dynamic, disruptive and innovative. Reconfigures markets and services constantly. Introducing a regulation that blocks innovation conspires against the development of a country,” Winograd said at the close of his exhibition.

Ángel Melguizo, Carlos Winograd, Daniel Katz

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