4 December 2017

South Africa: Telecommunications and Postal Services Engages ICT Sector On Proposed Changes Contained in the Electronic Communications Bill

press release

Statement on the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services' engagement with the ICT sector on the proposed changes contained in the Electronic Communications Bill in Pretoria

The Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services met with the ICT industry and associations today to explain the provisions contained in the ECA Amendment Bill in Pretoria.

The meeting was organised through the National ICT Forum and brought together representatives from the Forum's economic chamber and other role-players. The meeting is the second engagement with the industry and it is aimed at explaining some of the provisions that are in the public domain such as Spectrum, Wholesale Open Access Network (WOAN) and Rapid Deployment, all of which are aimed at achieving universal service and access.

"The meeting was about explaining the rationale behind the provisions contained in the ECA Amendment Bill. The Bill is about balancing the interests of all the stakeholders in the sector," said DTPS Director General Robert Nkuna.

He said the process was not about renegotiating the policy but on how to implement it with a common understanding of the key objectives in a manner that contributes to economic growth.

"We are going ahead with the establishment of the WOAN. There's is no intention to establish a Government-owned WOAN. The WOAN will be a private sector led initiative," said Nkuna.

He said the Rapid Deployment Policy is one way in which government is seeking to lower the costs for the operators, and ultimately for consumers.

These engagements follow Cabinet's approval in November 2017 for the gazetting of the Bill for public comment. The Bill aims to give effect to the National Integrated ICT Policy White Paper and facilitates services-based competition, elimination of infrastructure duplication and transformation in the sector. The ultimately beneficiaries of this policy will be consumers who can expect a wider choice and cheaper services over time.

There will be additional roundtable discussions with other stakeholders over the next few weeks to continue providing clarity on this important transformative Bill.

The Department is committed to continuous meaningful engagements with all stakeholders as it seeks to implement the National Integrated ICT Policy White Paper in a manner that is least disruptive to investment in the sector.

Issued by: Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services

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