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The creation of a new high-speed rail network in Portugal, and the utilization of rail assets by private entities on a concession basis, constitutes an excellent opportunity for private investment. Compatibility between the infrastructure and the rolling stock is crucial, so as to obtain the best results in terms of performance, safety, service quality and costs.
The new legal framework governing rail assets that form part of the public domain has established new rules and investment possibilities, opening the door for deals involving assets which were formerly off-market. There is now a greater opportunity to conclude transactions such as cross-border leases and sale lease-back structures.
In Portugal, mortgages over factories can be extended to cover all machinery, equipment and other chattels pertaining to the factory, as long as the relevant assets are listed in the mortgage deed. This increases the value of the collateral while at the same time linking the security of the credit facility to assets that are essential for the company to carry out its activities.
The Securities Market Commission allows companies to adopt an alternative governance code to its official code, provided that it meets high standards of transparency and investor protection. In light of this, the Portuguese Institute of Corporate Governance has put forward the first code of corporate governance originated by the private sector. This warrants a comparative analysis of both codes.
Decree-Law 7/2004 has implemented the E-commerce Directive in Portugal. The decree-law recognizes the principles of freedom of establishment and freedom to provide information society services, while providing that all information society service providers established in Portugal will be subject to Portuguese law. Key issues regulated include electronic contracts and spam.
Including: Market Liberalization; Legal Framework; Major Players; Opportunities for New Entrants; Licensing Regime; Interconnection; Competition Issues; Universal Service; Numbering; Regulatory Authorities and their Powers
Since March 2005 several Portuguese telecommunications operators have provided Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services. ANACOM, the Portuguese telecommunications regulator, has now launched a public consultation on their regulation; the growth of the new technology has implications for numbering resources and operators' universal service obligations.
A decision of ANACOM, Portugal's domestic telecommunications regulator, regarding pricing and cost orientation on mobile networks was recently challenged in the courts by one of Portugal's three mobile operators, even though the operator in question may benefit from temporary positive price discrimination. This is the first case against the regulator which challenges its market analysis procedures.
ANACOM, Portugal's domestic telecommunications regulator, has recently been one of Europe's most active national regulatory authorities in analyzing and imposing obligations on product and service markets within the electronic communications sector. Since July 2004 it has analyzed 12 out of 18 markets identified by the European Commission as requiring market analysis and ex ante regulation.
The municipal fee for rights of way is being implemented. The fee was introduced by the Electronic Communications Law, which establishes that certain rights and levies of telecommunications operators at fixed locations may be subject to a fee. Unfortunately, to date, the new regime has proved problematic.
The government has approved a legislative proposal which would afford law enforcement agencies unlimited access to traffic data processed by communications and electronic communications operators. The proposal has come under fire as it would disproportionately increase the costs of telecommunications operators and severely endanger citizens' right to privacy.
Several months after the deadline established by the Electronic Communications Law, the Portuguese telecommunications regulator has finally approved a regulation setting out the procedures for the collection and delivery to municipalities of the new rights of way tax.