Research ICT Africa has submitted its comments on the Electronic Communications Amendment Bill in response to the invitation by the Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services. The Bill is an important document that may have a significant impact on the telecommunications sector of the country. It seeks to implement and give effect to the policy objectives set out in the National Integrated ICT Policy White Paper, published in October of 2016. One of our main concerns is that the Bill undermines the independence of ICASA. There is an undercurrent throughout the Bill that asserts the role of the Department / Minister over that of ICASA, and downgrades the independence of the latter. In our view, this may render the Bill unconstitutional. It also reflects a lack of appreciation of the centrality of effective regulation in an effectively functioning ICT ecosystem.
Whilst RIA has a number of areas where it has views, its submission is focused on only five substantive issues in the Bill:
- Institutional arrangements
- Wireless Open Access Network
- Universal Access and Service
- Open Access and Vertically Integrated Networks
You can read the full submission here.