Iceland’s parliament has only a few days to approve legal amendments that are intended to ensure national security in relation to the sale of telecommunications company Míla, RÚV reports. The company, which owns and operates nationwide telecommunications systems, was recently sold to French fund management company Ardian. Various parties in Iceland have expressed concern regarding the sale of such important infrastructure to a foreign company. The Icelandic government has imposed certain conditions on the sale.
All of Iceland’s homes, businesses, and institutions are serviced by Míla’s nationwide telecommunications infrastructure, which includes copper wire, fibreoptic, and microwave systems. The company is therefore the basis of all telecommunications and electronic communications systems throughout the country. Former Minister of Transport Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson met with Ardian representatives last summer, and later stated he was optimistic that an agreement could be reached on their acquisition of Míla that would ensure national interests were protected. He mentioned conditions for the sale, including mandating that certain equipment used by Míla would remain in Iceland, that other equipment would be from countries that are Iceland’s defence allies, and that Icelandic authorities would be kept informed of the true owners of Míla at all times.
Áslaug Arna introduced the amendment bill concerning Míla in Iceland’s Parliament yesterday, saying it would strengthen and secure the legal basis for telecommunications with regard to national security. Opposition MPs criticised the government for introducing the bill so late, with Reform Party Chairperson Þorgerður Katrín Gunnarsdóttir saying the working process of the bill has been characterised by carelessness. More comprehensive changes to the legislation are expected next year.
Discussing the sale of Míla, Iceland’s Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir called telecommunications infrastructure a “key issue for public security in every society.”