Chapter Thirteen-- Telecommunications

Chapter Thirteen-- Telecommunications

 Chapter Thirteen -- Telecommunications1 

 

Article 13.1:  Scope and Coverage

1. This Chapter applies to: 

(a) measures adopted or maintained by a Party relating to access to and use of public

telecommunications services;

(b) measures adopted or maintained by a Party relating to obligations of suppliers of

public telecommunications services;

(c) other measures relating to public telecommunications networks or services; and

(d) measures adopted or maintained by a Party relating to the supply of information

services.  

2. Except to ensure that enterprises operating broadcast stations and cable systems have

continued access to and use of public telecommunications services, this Chapter does not apply

to any measure adopted or maintained by a Party relating to broadcast or cable distribution of

radio or television programming.

3. Nothing in this Chapter shall be construed to:

(a) require a Party or require a Party to compel any enterprise to establish, construct,

acquire, lease, operate, or provide telecommunications networks or services

where such networks or services are not offered to the public generally; 

(b) require a Party to compel any enterprise exclusively engaged in the broadcast or

cable distribution of radio or television programming to make available its

broadcast or cable facilities as a public telecommunications network; or

(c) prevent a Party from prohibiting persons operating private networks from using

their networks to supply public telecommunications networks or services to third

parties.

Article 13.2:  Access to and Use of Public Telecommunications Services

1. Each Party shall ensure that enterprises of another Party have access to and use of any

public telecommunications service, including leased circuits, offered in its territory or across its

borders, on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms and conditions, including as set out in

paragraphs 2 through 6.

 

2. Each Party shall ensure that such enterprises are permitted to:

 

(a) purchase or lease, and attach terminal or other equipment that interfaces with a

public telecommunications network;

 

(b) provide services to individual or multiple end-users over leased or owned circuits;

 

(c) connect owned or leased circuits with public telecommunications networks and

services in the territory, or across the borders, of that Party or with circuits leased

or owned by another person;

 

(d) perform switching, signaling, processing, and conversion functions; and 

                                                

1

  In place of the obligations established in this Chapter, Costa Rica shall undertake the specific commitments set out

in Annex 13.  

 

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(e) use operating protocols of their choice.

 

3. Each Party shall ensure that enterprises of another Party may use public

telecommunications services for the movement of information in its territory or across its borders

and for access to information contained in databases or otherwise stored in machine-readable

form in the territory of any Party.

 

4. Notwithstanding paragraph 3, a Party may take such measures as are necessary to: 

 

(a) ensure the security and confidentiality of messages; or 

 

 (b) protect the privacy of non-public personal data of subscribers to public

telecommunications services,  

 

subject to the requirement that such measures are not applied in a manner that would constitute a

means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination or disguised restriction on trade in services.

 

5. Each Party shall ensure that no condition is imposed on access to and use of public

telecommunications networks or services, other than that necessary to: 

 

(a) safeguard the public service responsibilities of suppliers of public

telecommunications networks or services, in particular their ability to make their

networks or services available to the public generally; or 

 

(b) protect the technical integrity of public telecommunications networks or services. 

 

6. Provided that conditions for access to and use of public telecommunications networks or

services satisfy the criteria set out in paragraph 5, such conditions may include: 

 

(a) a requirement to use specified technical interfaces, including interface protocols,

for interconnection with such networks or services; and

 

(b) a licensing, permit, registration, or notification procedure which, if adopted or

maintained, is transparent and provides for the processing of applications filed

thereunder in accordance with the Party’s national law or regulation.

 

Article 13.3:  Obligations Relating to Suppliers of Public Telecommunications Services2

Interconnection  

 

1. (a) Each Party shall ensure that suppliers of public telecommunications services in its

territory provide, directly or indirectly, interconnection with the suppliers of

public telecommunications services of another Party.  

 

(b) In carrying out subparagraph (a), each Party shall ensure that suppliers of public

telecommunications services in its territory take reasonable steps to protect the

confidentiality of commercially sensitive information of, or relating to, suppliers

and end-users of public telecommunications services and only use such

information for the purpose of providing those services.

 

 (c) Each Party shall provide its telecommunications regulatory body the authority to

require public telecommunications suppliers to file their interconnection

contracts.

Resale

                                                

2

  This Article is subject to Annex 13.3.  Paragraphs 2 through 4 of this Article do not apply with respect to suppliers

of commercial mobile services.  Nothing in this Article shall be construed to preclude a Party from imposing the

requirements set out in this Article on suppliers of commercial mobile services.

 

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2. Each Party shall ensure that suppliers of public telecommunications services do not

impose unreasonable or discriminatory conditions or limitations on the resale of those services.

 

Number Portability

 

3. Each Party shall ensure that suppliers of public telecommunications services in its

territory provide number portability to the extent technically feasible, on a timely basis, and on

reasonable terms and conditions.3

 

Dialing Parity

 

4. Each Party shall ensure that suppliers of public telecommunications services in its

territory provide dialing parity to suppliers of public telecommunications services of another

Party, and afford suppliers of public telecommunications services of another Party non-

discriminatory access to telephone numbers and related services with no unreasonable dialing

delays.

 

Article 13.4:  Additional Obligations Relating to Major Suppliers of Public

Telecommunications Services4

 

Treatment by Major Suppliers

 

1. Each Party shall ensure that major suppliers in its territory accord suppliers of public

telecommunications services of another Party treatment no less favorable than such major

suppliers accord to their subsidiaries, their affiliates, or non-affiliated service suppliers

regarding:

 

(a) the availability, provisioning, rates, or quality of like public telecommunications

services; and

 

(b) the availability of technical interfaces necessary for interconnection.

 

Competitive Safeguards

 

2.  (a) Each Party shall maintain5 appropriate measures for the purpose of preventing

suppliers who, alone or together, are a major supplier in its territory from

engaging in or continuing anti-competitive practices.

 

(b) The anti-competitive practices referred to in subparagraph (a) include in

particular:

 

(i)  engaging in anti-competitive cross-subsidization;

 

(ii)  using information obtained from competitors with anti-competitive results;

and

 

(iii)  not making available, on a timely basis, to suppliers of public

telecommunications services, technical information about essential

                                                

3

  In complying with this paragraph, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua

may take into account the economic feasibility of providing number portability.

4

  This Article is subject to Annex 13.3.  This Article does not apply with respect to suppliers of commercial mobile

services.  This Article is without prejudice to any rights or obligations that a Party may have under the GATS, and

nothing in this Article shall be construed to preclude a Party from imposing the requirements set out in this Article

on suppliers of commercial mobile services.

5

  For purposes of paragraph 2, “maintain” a measure includes the actual implementation of such measure, as

appropriate.

 

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facilities and commercially relevant information which are necessary for

them to provide public telecommunications services. 

 

Resale

 

3. Each Party shall ensure that major suppliers in its territory:

 

 (a)   offer for resale, at reasonable rates,6 to suppliers of public telecommunications

services of another Party, public telecommunications services that such major

suppliers provide at retail to end-users that are not suppliers of public

telecommunications services; and

 

 (b)  do not impose unreasonable or discriminatory conditions or limitations on the

resale of such services.7 

 

Unbundling of Network Elements

 

4.  (a)  Each Party shall provide its telecommunications regulatory body the authority to

require major suppliers in its territory to offer access to network elements on an

unbundled basis on terms, conditions, and at cost-oriented rates that are

reasonable, non-discriminatory, and transparent for the supply of public

telecommunications services. 

 

(b)  Each Party may determine the network elements required to be made available in

its territory, and the suppliers that may obtain such elements, in accordance with

its law and regulations.

 

Interconnection

 

5.  (a) General Terms and Conditions

 

Each Party shall ensure that major suppliers in its territory provide

interconnection for the facilities and equipment of suppliers of public

telecommunications services of another Party:

 

(i) at any technically feasible point in the major supplier’s network;

 

(ii) under non-discriminatory terms, conditions (including technical standards

and specifications), and rates;

 

(iii) of a quality no less favorable than that provided by such major suppliers

for their own like services, for like services of non-affiliated service

suppliers, or for their subsidiaries or other affiliates;

 

(iv) in a timely fashion, on terms, conditions (including technical standards

and specifications), and, subject to Annex 13.4.5, cost-oriented rates that

are transparent, reasonable, having regard to economic feasibility, and

sufficiently unbundled so that the suppliers need not pay for network

components or facilities that they do not require for the service to be

provided; and 

 

                                                

6

  For purposes of subparagraph (a), wholesale rates set pursuant to a Party’s law and regulations satisfy the standard of

reasonableness.

7

  Where provided in its law or regulations, a Party may prohibit a reseller that obtains, at wholesale rates, a public

telecommunications service available at retail to only a limited category of subscribers from offering the service to a

different category of subscribers.

 

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(v) on request, at points in addition to the network termination points offered

to the majority of users, subject to charges that reflect the cost of

construction of necessary additional facilities.

 

(b) Options for Interconnecting with Major Suppliers

 

Each Party shall ensure that suppliers of public telecommunications services of

another Party may interconnect their facilities and equipment with those of major

suppliers in its territory pursuant to at least one of the following options: 

 

(i) a reference interconnection offer or another standard interconnection offer

containing the rates, terms, and conditions that the major suppliers offer

generally to suppliers of public telecommunications services; or

 

(ii) the terms and conditions of an interconnection agreement in force or

through negotiation of a new interconnection agreement.

 

(c) Public Availability of Interconnection Offers

 

Each Party shall require major suppliers in its territory to make publicly available

reference interconnection offers or other standard interconnection offers

containing the rates, terms, and conditions that the major suppliers offer generally

to suppliers of public telecommunications services.

 

(d) Public Availability of the Procedures for Interconnection Negotiations

 

Each Party shall make publicly available the applicable procedures for

interconnection negotiations with major suppliers in its territory.

 

(e) Public Availability of Interconnection Agreements Concluded with Major

Suppliers

 

(i) Each Party shall require major suppliers in its territory to file all

interconnection agreements to which they are party with its

telecommunications regulatory body or other relevant body.

 

(ii) Each Party shall make publicly available interconnection agreements in

force between major suppliers in its territory and other suppliers of public

telecommunications services in its territory.   

 

Provisioning and Pricing of Leased Circuits Services 

 

6. (a) Each Party shall ensure that major suppliers in its territory provide enterprises

 of another Party leased circuits services that are public telecommunications

services on terms, conditions, and at rates that are reasonable and non-

discriminatory. 

 

(b) In carrying out subparagraph (a), each Party shall provide its telecommunications

regulatory body the authority to require major suppliers in its territory to offer

leased circuits services that are public telecommunications services to enterprises

of another Party at flat-rate, cost-oriented prices.

 

Co-location

 

7. (a) Subject to subparagraphs (b) and (c), each Party shall ensure that major

 suppliers in its territory provide to suppliers of public telecommunications

services of another Party physical co-location of equipment necessary for

interconnection on terms, conditions, and at cost-oriented rates that are

reasonable, non-discriminatory, and transparent.  

 

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(b) Where physical co-location is not practical for technical reasons or because of

space limitations, each Party shall ensure that major suppliers in its territory:

 

(i) provide an alternative solution, or 

 

(ii) facilitate virtual co-location in its territory,

 

on terms, conditions, and at cost-oriented rates that are reasonable, non-

discriminatory, and transparent.

 

(c) Each Party may specify in its law or regulations which premises are subject to

subparagraphs (a) and (b).

 

Access to Rights-of-Way

 

8. Subject to Annex 13.4.8, each Party shall ensure that major suppliers in its territory

afford access to their poles, ducts, conduits, and rights-of-way to suppliers of public

telecommunications services of another Party on terms, conditions, and at rates that are

reasonable and non-discriminatory.  

 

Article 13.5:  Submarine Cable Systems  

 

Each Party shall ensure reasonable and non-discriminatory treatment for access to

submarine cable systems (including landing facilities) in its territory, where a supplier is

authorized to operate a submarine cable system as a public telecommunications service.

 

Article 13.6:  Conditions for the Supply of Information Services

 

1. No Party may require an enterprise in its territory that it classifies8 as a supplier of

information services and that supplies such services over facilities that it does not own to:

 

(a) supply such services to the public generally;

 

(b) cost-justify its rates for such services;

 

(c) file a tariff for such services;

 

(d) interconnect its networks with any particular customer for the supply of such

services; or

 

(e) conform with any particular standard or technical regulation for interconnection

other than for interconnection to a public telecommunications network.

 

2. Notwithstanding paragraph 1, a Party may take the actions described in subparagraphs (a)

through (e) to remedy a practice of a supplier of information services that the Party has found in

a particular case to be anti-competitive under its law or regulations, or to otherwise promote

competition or safeguard the interests of consumers.

 

                                                

8

  For purposes of applying this provision, each Party may, through its telecommunications regulatory body, classify

which services in its territory are information services.

 

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Article 13.7:  Independent Regulatory Bodies9 and Government-Owned

Telecommunications Suppliers

 

1. Each Party shall ensure that its telecommunications regulatory body is separate from, and

not accountable to, any supplier of public telecommunications services.  To this end, each Party

shall ensure that its telecommunications regulatory body does not hold a financial interest or

maintain an operating role in any such supplier.

 

2. Each Party shall ensure that the decisions and procedures of its telecommunications

regulatory body are impartial with respect to all interested persons.  To this end, each Party shall

ensure that any financial interest that it holds in a supplier of public telecommunications services

does not influence the decisions and procedures of its telecommunications regulatory body.

 

3. No Party may accord more favorable treatment to a supplier of public

telecommunications services or to a supplier of information services than that accorded to a like

supplier of another Party on the ground that the supplier receiving more favorable treatment is

owned, wholly or in part, by the national government of the Party.

 

Article 13.8:  Universal Service

 

 Each Party shall administer any universal service obligation that it maintains in a

transparent, non-discriminatory, and competitively neutral manner and shall ensure that its

universal service obligation is not more burdensome than necessary for the kind of universal

service that it has defined. 

Article 13.9:  Licenses and Other Authorizations 

 

1. Where a Party requires a supplier of public telecommunications services to have a

license, concession, permit, registration, or other type of authorization, the Party shall make

publicly available:

 

(a) all applicable licensing or authorization criteria and procedures it applies;

 

(b) the time it normally requires to reach a decision concerning an application for a

license, concession, permit, registration, or other type of authorization; and

 

(c) the terms and conditions of all licenses or authorizations it has issued.

 

2. Each Party shall ensure that, on request, an applicant receives the reasons for the denial

of a license, concession, permit, registration, or other type of authorization.

 

Article 13.10:  Allocation and Use of Scarce Resources

 

1. Each Party shall administer its procedures for the allocation and use of scarce

telecommunications resources, including frequencies, numbers, and rights-of-way, in an

objective, timely, transparent, and non-discriminatory manner.

 

2. Each Party shall make publicly available the current state of allocated frequency bands

but shall not be required to provide detailed identification of frequencies allocated for specific

government uses.

 

3. For greater certainty, a Party’s measures regarding the allocation and assignment of

spectrum and regarding frequency management are not measures that are per se inconsistent with

Article 11.4 (Market Access), which is applied to Chapter Ten (Investment) through Article

11.1.3 (Scope and Coverage).  Accordingly, each Party retains the right to establish and apply its

spectrum and frequency management policies, which may limit the number of suppliers of public

                                                

9

  Each Party shall endeavor to ensure that its telecommunications regulatory body has adequate resources to carry

out its functions.

 

 13-8

telecommunications services, provided that it does so in a manner that is consistent with this

Agreement.  Each Party also retains the right to allocate frequency bands taking into account

present and future needs.

 

Article 13.11:  Enforcement

 

 Each Party shall provide its competent authority with the authority to establish and

enforce the Party’s measures relating to the obligations set out in Articles 13.2 through 13.5. 

Such authority shall include the ability to impose effective sanctions, which may include

financial penalties, injunctive relief (on an interim or final basis), or the modification,

suspension, and revocation of licenses or other authorizations.

Article 13.12:  Resolution of Domestic Telecommunications Disputes

 

 Further to Articles 18.4 (Administrative Proceedings) and 18.5 (Review and Appeal),

each Party shall ensure the following:  

Recourse to Telecommunications Regulatory Bodies

 

(a) (i) Each Party shall ensure that enterprises of another Party may seek review

by a telecommunications regulatory body or other relevant body to resolve

disputes regarding the Party’s measures relating to a matter set out in

Articles 13.2 through 13.5.

 

 (ii) Each Party shall ensure that suppliers of public telecommunications

services of another Party that have requested interconnection with a major

supplier in the Party’s territory may seek review, within a reasonable and

publicly available period of time after the supplier requests

interconnection, by a telecommunications regulatory body10 to resolve

disputes regarding the terms, conditions, and rates for interconnection

with such major supplier.

 

Reconsideration

 

(b) Each Party shall ensure that any enterprise that is aggrieved or whose interests are

adversely affected by a determination or decision of the Party’s

telecommunications regulatory body may petition the body to reconsider that

determination or decision.  No Party may permit such a petition to constitute

grounds for non-compliance with the determination or decision of the

telecommunications regulatory body unless an appropriate authority stays such

determination or decision.

 

Judicial Review

 

(c) Each Party shall ensure that any enterprise that is aggrieved or whose interests are

adversely affected by a determination or decision of the Party’s

telecommunications regulatory body may obtain judicial review of such

determination or decision by an independent judicial authority.

 

                                                

10

  In the United States, this body may be a state regulatory authority. 

 

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Article 13.13:  Transparency

 

 Further to Articles 18.2 (Publication) and 18.3 (Notification and Provision of

Information), each Party shall ensure that:

 (a) rulemakings, including the basis for such rulemakings, of its telecommunications

regulatory body and end-user tariffs filed with its telecommunications regulatory

body are promptly published or otherwise made publicly available;

 

 (b) interested persons are provided with adequate advance public notice of, and the

opportunity to comment on, any rulemaking that its telecommunications

regulatory body proposes; and

 

 (c) its measures relating to public telecommunications services are made publicly

available, including measures relating to:

 

 (i) tariffs and other terms and conditions of service;

 

 (ii) procedures relating to judicial and other adjudicatory proceedings;

 

 (iii) specifications of technical interfaces;

 

 (iv)  bodies responsible for preparing, amending, and adopting standards-

related measures affecting access and use;

 

 (v)  conditions for attaching terminal or other equipment to the public

telecommunications network; and

 

 (vi) notification, permit, registration, or licensing requirements, if any.

 

Article 13.14:  Flexibility in the Choice of Technologies 

 

 No Party may prevent suppliers of public telecommunications services from having the

flexibility to choose the technologies that they use to supply their services, including commercial

mobile wireless services, subject to requirements necessary to satisfy legitimate public policy

interests. 

Article 13.15:  Forbearance

 

 The Parties recognize the importance of relying on market forces to achieve wide choices

in the supply of telecommunications services.  To this end, each Party may forbear from

applying a regulation to a service that the Party classifies as a public telecommunications

service, if its telecommunications regulatory body determines that:

(a) enforcement of such regulation is not necessary to prevent unreasonable or

discriminatory practices;

 

(b) enforcement of such regulation is not necessary for the protection of consumers;

and

 

(c) forbearance is consistent with the public interest, including promoting and

enhancing competition between suppliers of public telecommunications services.  

 

Article 13.16:  Relationship to Other Chapters

 

In the event of any inconsistency between this Chapter and another Chapter, this Chapter

shall prevail to the extent of the inconsistency.

 

Article 13.17:  Definitions

 

 

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For purposes of this Chapter:

 

commercial mobile services means public telecommunications services supplied through

mobile wireless means;

 

cost-oriented means based on cost, and may include a reasonable profit, and may involve

different cost methodologies for different facilities or services;

 

dialing parity means the ability of an end-user to use an equal number of digits to access a like

public telecommunications service, regardless of the public telecommunications service supplier

chosen by such end-user;

 

end-user means a final consumer of or subscriber to a public telecommunications service,

including a service supplier other than a supplier of public telecommunications services;

 

enterprise means an “enterprise” as defined in Article 2.1 (Definitions of General Application),

and includes a branch of an enterprise;

 

essential facilities means facilities of a public telecommunications network or service that:

 

(a) are exclusively or predominantly supplied by a single or limited number of

suppliers; and 

 

(b) cannot feasibly be economically or technically substituted in order to supply a

service;

 

information service means the offering of a capability for generating, acquiring, storing,

transforming, processing, retrieving, utilizing, or making available information via

telecommunications, and includes electronic publishing, but does not include any use of any

such capability for the management, control, or operation of a telecommunications system or the

management of a telecommunications service;

 

interconnection means linking with suppliers providing public telecommunications services in

order to allow the users of one supplier to communicate with users of another supplier and to

access services provided by another supplier;

 

leased circuits means telecommunications facilities between two or more designated points that

are set aside for the dedicated use of or availability to a particular customer or other users of the

customer’s choosing;

 

major supplier means a supplier of public telecommunications services that has the ability to

materially affect the terms of participation (having regard to price and supply) in the relevant

market for public telecommunications services as a result of:

 

(a) control over essential facilities; or 

 

(b) use of its position in the market;

 

network element means a facility or equipment used in supplying a public telecommunications

service, including features, functions, and capabilities provided by means of such facility or

equipment;

 

non-discriminatory means treatment no less favorable than that accorded to any other user of

like public telecommunications services in like circumstances;

 

number portability means the ability of end-users of public telecommunications services to

retain, at the same location, telephone numbers without impairment of quality, reliability, or

convenience when switching between like suppliers of public telecommunications services;

 

 

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physical co-location means physical access to and control over space in order to install,

maintain, or repair equipment, at premises owned or controlled and used by a supplier to supply

public telecommunications services; 

 

public telecommunications service means any telecommunications service that a Party

requires, explicitly or in effect, to be offered to the public generally.  Such services may include,

inter alia, telephone and data transmission typically involving customer-supplied information

between two or more points without any end-to-end change in the form or content of the

customer’s information, but does not include information services;

 

reference interconnection offer means an interconnection offer extended by a major supplier

and filed with or approved by a telecommunications regulatory body that is sufficiently detailed

to enable a supplier of public telecommunications services that is willing to accept its rates,

terms, and conditions to obtain interconnection without having to engage in negotiations with the

major supplier;

 

telecommunications means the transmission and reception of signals by any electromagnetic

means, including by photonic means;

 

telecommunications regulatory body means a national body responsible for the regulation of

telecommunications; and

 

user means an end-user or a supplier of public telecommunications services. 

 

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Annex 13

 

Specific Commitments of Costa Rica on Telecommunications Services

 

I. Preamble 

 The Government of the Republic of Costa Rica:  

acknowledging the unique nature of the Costa Rican social policy on telecommunications, and

reaffirming its decision to ensure that the process of opening its telecommunications services

sector must be based on its Constitution;

emphasizing that such process shall be to the benefit of the user and shall be based on the

principles of graduality, selectivity, and regulation, and in strict conformity with the social

objectives of universality and solidarity in the supply of telecommunications services; and  

recognizing its commitment to strengthen and modernize the Instituto Costarricense de

Electricidad (ICE) as a market participant in a competitive telecommunications marketplace

while ensuring that the use of its infrastructure shall be remunerated and to develop a regulatory

body to oversee market development;

undertakes through this Annex the following specific commitments on telecommunications

services.

II. Modernization of ICE 

 Costa Rica shall enact a new legal framework to strengthen ICE, through its appropriate

modernization, no later than December 31, 2004.

III. Selective and Gradual Market Opening Commitments 

1. Market Access Standstill 

 

Costa Rica shall allow service providers of another Party to supply telecommunications services

on terms and conditions that are no less favorable than those established by or granted pursuant

to its legislation in force on January 27, 2003. 

2. Gradual and Selective Opening of Certain Telecommunications Services 

 

(a) As provided in Annex I, Costa Rica shall allow telecommunications services

providers of another Party, on a non-discriminatory basis, to effectively compete

to supply directly to the customer, through the technology of their choice, the

following telecommunications services in its territory:1

(i) private network services,2 no later than January 1, 2006; 

(ii) Internet services,3 no later than January 1, 2006; and

(iii) mobile wireless services,4 no later than January 1, 2007. 

                                                

1

  If Costa Rica requires a license for the provision of a listed service, Costa Rica shall make licenses available

within the timeframes specified in this subparagraph.

2

  Private network services (closed-user group services) mean networks provided for communications with no

interconnection to the public switched telecommunications network at either end.  Nothing in this Annex shall be

construed to prevent Costa Rica from prohibiting persons operating private networks from using their networks to

supply public telecommunications networks or services to third parties.

3

  Internet services shall include electronic mail, retrieval and processing of on-line information and databases and

electronic data exchange services, and offering the ability to access the Internet.

 

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(b) Subparagraph (a) shall also apply to any other telecommunications service that

Costa Rica may decide to allow in the future.

IV.   Regulatory Principles5

 The regulatory framework on telecommunications services that the Government of Costa

Rica shall have in force as of January 1, 2006, shall conform, among others, to the following

provisions:

1.  Universal Service

 

Costa Rica has the right to define the kind of universal service obligations it wishes to maintain. 

Such obligations will not be regarded as anti-competitive per se, provided they are administered in

a transparent, non-discriminatory, and competitively neutral manner and are not more burdensome

than necessary for the kind of universal service defined. 

 

2. Independence of the Regulatory Authority

 

Costa Rica shall establish or maintain a regulatory authority for telecommunications services,

which shall be separate from and not accountable to any supplier of telecommunications

services. Costa Rica shall ensure that its telecommunications regulatory authority is authorized

to impose effective sanctions to enforce domestic measures relating to the obligations set out in

this Annex. This regulatory authority may include jurisdiction over spectrum management,

universal service, tariffing, and licensing of new market entrants.  The decisions and the

procedures of the regulatory authority shall be impartial with respect to all market participants. 

 

3. Transparency

 

Costa Rica shall ensure that applicable procedures for interconnection to a major supplier and

either its interconnection agreements or referenced interconnection offers are made publicly

available.  Costa Rica shall also make publicly available all licensing or authorization criteria

and procedures required for telecommunications service suppliers, and the terms and conditions

of all licenses or authorizations issued.

4. Allocation and Use of Scarce Resources

 

Costa Rica shall ensure that procedures for the allocation and use of limited resources, including

frequencies, numbers, and rights of way, are administered in an objective, timely, transparent,

and non-discriminatory manner by a competent domestic authority.6  The Republic of Costa Rica

shall issue licenses for use of spectrum directly to the service providers, in accordance with

article 121, item 14 of the Constitución Política de la República de Costa Rica. 

 

5. Regulated Interconnection 

 

(a) Costa Rica shall ensure that public telecommunications services suppliers of

another Party are provided interconnection with a major supplier in a timely

fashion, under non-discriminatory terms, conditions,7 and cost-oriented rates that

are transparent, reasonable, and having regard to economic feasibility. 

                                                                                                                                                             

4

  Mobile wireless services mean voice, data, and/or broadband services provided by radio electric means in

specifically allocated bands, using mobile or fixed terminal equipment, using cellular, PCS (Personal

Communications Service), satellite, or any other similar technology that may be developed in the future for these

services.

5

  For greater certainty, this section does not create market access rights or obligations.

6

  The competent domestic authority shall be separate from and not accountable to any supplier of

telecommunications services.

7

  For purposes of subparagraph (a), conditions include technical regulations and specifications, as well as the

quality of interconnection.

 

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(b)  Costa Rica shall also ensure that a service supplier requesting interconnection

with a major supplier has recourse to an independent domestic body,8 which may

be the regulatory authority referred to in paragraph 2, to resolve disputes

regarding appropriate terms, conditions, and rates for interconnection within a

reasonable time.

 

6.  Access to and Use of the Network

 

(a)  Costa Rica shall ensure that enterprises of another Party have access to and use of

any public telecommunications services, including leased circuits, offered in its

territory or across its borders, on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms and

conditions and are permitted to: 

 

(i)  purchase or lease and attach terminal or other equipment that interfaces

with a public telecommunications network; 

 

(ii)  provide services to individual or multiple end-users over leased or owned

circuits; 

 

(iii)  connect owned or leased circuits with public telecommunications

networks and services in its territory, or across Costa Rica’s borders or

with circuits leased or owned by another person; 

 

(iv)  perform switching, signaling, processing, and conversion functions, and

use operating protocols of their choice; and 

 

(v)  use public telecommunications services for the movement of information

contained in databases or otherwise stored in machine-readable form in

the territory of any Party.

 

 (b) Notwithstanding subparagraph (a), Costa Rica may take such measures as are

necessary to ensure the security and confidentiality of messages or to protect the

privacy of non-public personal data of subscribers to public telecommunications

services, subject to the requirement that such measures are not applied in a

manner that would constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination

or disguised restriction on trade in services.  

 (c) Costa Rica shall also ensure that no condition is imposed on access to and use of

public telecommunications networks or services, other than that necessary to

safeguard the public service responsibilities of providers of public

telecommunications networks or services, in particular their ability to make their

networks or services available to the public generally, or protect the technical

integrity of public telecommunications networks or services.

7. Provision of Information Services

 

(a) Costa Rica may not require an enterprise of another Party in its territory that it

classifies9 as a supplier of information services and that supplies such services

over facilities that it does not own to: 

 

(i) supply such services to the public generally; 

 

(ii) cost-justify rates for such services; 

                                                

8

  The independent domestic body shall be separate from and not accountable to any supplier of telecommunications

services.

9

  The telecommunications regulatory authority will have the competence within its territory to classify the services

included in the information services category.

 

 13-15

 

(iii) file tariffs for such services; 

 

(iv) interconnect its networks with any particular customer for the supply of

such services; or 

 

(v) conform to any particular standard or technical regulation for

interconnection other than that for interconnection to a public

telecommunications network.  

 

(b) Notwithstanding subparagraph (a), Costa Rica may take any action referred to in

clauses (i) through (v) to remedy a practice of a supplier of information services

that it has found in a particular case to be anti-competitive under its law or

regulations, or to otherwise promote competition or safeguard the interests of

consumers.

 

8. Competition

 

Costa Rica shall maintain appropriate measures for the purpose of preventing suppliers who,

alone or together, are a major supplier from engaging in anti-competitive practices, such as not

making available, on a timely basis, to suppliers of public telecommunications services,

technical information about essential facilities and commercially relevant information that is

necessary for them to provide public telecommunications services. 

 

9. Submarine Cable Systems

 

Costa Rica shall ensure reasonable and non-discriminatory treatment for access to submarine

cable systems (including landing facilities) in its territory, where a supplier is authorized to

operate such submarine cable system as a public telecommunications service.

 

10. Flexibility in the Choice of Technologies

 

Costa Rica may not prevent suppliers of public telecommunications services from having the

flexibility to choose the technologies that they use to supply their services, subject to

requirements necessary to satisfy legitimate public policy interests.

 

 

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Annex 13.3

 

Rural Telephone Suppliers

 

1. A state regulatory authority in the United States may exempt a rural local exchange

carrier, as defined in section 251(f)(2) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, from the

obligations contained in paragraphs 2 through 4 of Article 13.3 and from the obligations

contained in Article 13.4.  

2. Article 13.4 does not apply to rural telephone companies in the United States, as defined

in section 3(37) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, unless a state regulatory

authority orders otherwise.  

3. El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua may designate and exempt a rural

telephone company in its territory from paragraphs 2 through 4 of Article 13.3 and from Article

13.4, provided that the rural telephone company supplies public telecommunications services to

fewer than two percent of the subscriber lines installed in the Party’s territory.  The number of

subscriber lines supplied by a rural telephone company includes all subscriber lines supplied by

the company, and by its owners, subsidiaries, and affiliates.  

 

4. Nothing in this Annex shall be construed to preclude a Party from imposing the

requirements set out in Article 13.4 on rural telephone companies.   

 

 

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Annex 13.4.5

 

Interconnection

 

1. For any Party that does not have an existing commitment under the GATS to ensure that

a major supplier in its territory provides interconnection at cost-oriented rates, the obligation

under Article 13.4.5 to ensure the provision of cost-oriented interconnection shall become

effective:

(a) two years after the date of entry into force of this Agreement; or  

 (b) January 1, 2007,  

whichever is earlier.  

2. During the transition period, each such Party shall ensure that major suppliers of public

telecommunications services in its territory: 

(a) do not charge interconnection rates above the rates charged on December 31,

2003; and 

(b) proportionally reduce interconnection rates as necessary to ensure that a cost-

oriented interconnection rate has been achieved by the end of the transition

period. 

 

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Annex 13.4.8

 

Access to Rights-of-Way

 

 Article 13.4.8 shall apply with respect to El Salvador beginning when its law provides

that poles, ducts, conducts, and rights-of-way constitute essential resources.