South Africa: Open Access wireless networks threaten competition and investment?

Despite its policy currency globally there is little evidence that mandatory open access networks have contributed to public policy objectives of increased competition in services, decreased pricing and higher levels of demand stimulation. In fact, a growing body of evidence from mature markets indicates that the adoption of mandatory open access network strategies may come at the expense of other public interest objectives such as investment and innovation. Further where the measures have been implemented in mature market of the European Union, for example, countries have the institutional capacity and competencies to implement and enforce mandatory open access measures, which is not the case in many jurisdictions in Africa.

The lacuna in South Africa’s national broadband policy on how to implement open access in order to contribute to national policy objectives prompted Research ICT Africa (RIA) to investigate whether open access strategies could be the policy and regulatory panacea to poor network extension and high costs of broadband.

Download policy brief here.