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Brazilian Federal Supreme Court maintains the suspension of Telebras contract with a North American company for satellite exploration

The Chief Justice of the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court (STF), Justice Cármen Lúcia, rejected a request for Suspension of Preliminary Injunction (SL 1157) filed by the Federal Government against a decision of the Federal Court of Justice that determined the suspension of a contract signed between Telecomunicações Brasileiras S/A (Telebras) and ViaSat Inc in order to exploit the Ka-band capacity of the Brazilian Geostationary Satellite for Defense and Strategic Communications (SGDC). According to the assessment of the case by the Justice, it would be more detrimental to the public interest the implementation of activities by the contracted company, at a time when the issue is still under initial analysis by the Judiciary.

Understand the case

The SGDC was launched by Brazil in May 2017. According to Telebras, the satellite "uses the high capacity of the Ka-band to expand the broadband offer to the most distant places in Brazil with good internet."

In a lawsuit filed in March, Via Direct Telecomunicações por Satélite e Internet Ltda. and the Tiradentes TV and Radio Network. affirm that Telebras would have promoted, in October 2017, an auction for the commercialization of a large part of the so-called "satellite capacity" of the SGDC, through a public call for tender. As no company presented itself, the state-owned company would have directly negotiated with Via Direta the right to acquire part of that capacity. However, the company claims to have been deferred in the process due to the conclusion of a contract between Telebras and ViaSat, a US company, without bidding, to operate 100% of the satellite's Ka-Band capacity.

Decision

In the examination for the suspension of the preliminary injunction, Justice Cármen Lúcia pointed out that no direct or indirect Public Administration entity is authorized to fail to comply with the provisions of Article 37 of the Federal Constitution, which deals with the principles of legality, impersonality, morality, advertising and efficiency.

According to the STF's Chief Justice, the risk of impact on government public policies is mitigated by the possibility of making additions to the contract currently in force (with the Conecta Brasil II Consortium). In turn, the damage to the public economy resulting from this measure would begin in July 2018, whose financial loss is estimated by the Union at R $ 42 million per month.

Decision

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