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Mexican president proposes telecom reform

Mexico’s President has proposed major telecommunications reforms that are supported by the nation’s three major political parties.

The changes would create two new national television channels and form a powerful independent regulatory commission along the lines of the Federal Communications Commission in the United States. Television networks would be required to provide their programming free to most cable operators, and cable operators would have to carry all broadcast channels.

The reform takes on two of the most influential men in Mexico, multibillionaire telephone tycoon Carlos Slim and Televisa CEO Emilio Azcarraga.

Slim's Telmex, the privatized former national phone company, controls 80 percent of Mexican landlines and 70 percent of the mobile phone market. Azcarraga's Televisa has 70 percent of the broadcast television market and more than 45 percent of cable television.