Validation Workshop Session 2.3: Gap Analysis: Existing legislation and regulation in Southern Africa assessed against international and regional best practice . Monday 14 March 2011 Windhoek, Namibia Charley Lewis ITU Expert. Introduction.
Session 2.3: Gap Analysis:
Existing legislation and regulation in Southern Africa assessed against international and regional best practice
Monday 14 March 2011
Legal Mandate and Institutional Framework;
Objectives, Principles and Scope of Universal Access and Service;
Variety of Strategies and Policies to Promote Universal Access and Service;
Monitoring, Enforcement and Sanctions of USOs;
Universal Access and Service Financing;
Universal Service Fund: Principles;
Quality of Service for Universal Access and Service;
Consumer Policy and Universal Service
Consultation: The law/legal mandate clearly directs the ministry to develop a UAS Policy after consultation with relevant stakeholders
There is no legal requirement in terms of the Telecommunications Act for either UAS policy development or for stakeholder consultation. National telecomms policy remains the sole prerogative of the Minister. Pending legislation currently proposes the establishment of a stakeholder-based “Universal Access Consultative Council” to advise the regulator on UAS programmes, budgets and activities.
Service Targets: a clear definition is given of specific ICT services and ICT applications that must be provided and to whom they must be provided
The 2003 consultation document on UAS issued by the regulator set out to define which “services are included in the universal basket of services”and suggested that these should include “voice grade access [whether] fixed or mobile” but sets out no specific quantifiable targets.
Liberalisation: Introduction of competition with liberalisation of appropriate market segments (CPE, paging, ISPs, data communications, VANS, international gateways and undersea cables, and wholesale fibre
Competition is gradually being introduced with licences granted to a second mobile operator in 2007, and licences for ISPs to be awarded in 2011. The international gateway and undersea cable remain a monopoly in the hands of the incumbent.
Publication of USOs: Comprehensive details of Universal Access and Service obligations are specified in each operator’s licence and published by the designated agency
The USOs imposed on operators are required by the law to be specified in the various individual licences, but the licences are not readily publicly available, and the details of USOs imposed on individual operators are not published by the regulator.
Range of Mechanisms: The law establishes a variety of financial mechanisms to support provision of UAS
The 2002 Telecommunication Law only makes provision for the establishment of a “Universal Service Fund” as a mechanism to provide explicit financial support towards UAS. No other financial mechanisms are either specified in the law or have been implemented by the regulator.
Transparency: The fund is audited bi-annually, and audits, and financial and activity reports are publicly available
There is no formal provision within either the law or the regulation governing the USF dealing with audit requirements. However, the USF falls under the control of the regulator. Some, but not all, annual reports of the regulator contain copies of audited financial statements.
QoS Review: QoS components and benchmarks are regularly reviewed through a process of public, stakeholder consultation
There is no requirement in the law for QoS parameters to be periodically assessed, let alone for this to be done in conjunction with stakeholders. Nor is there any evidence of such a process having been undertaken.
Surveys: Consumers are regularly surveyed in relation to QoS and complaints issues and level of satisfaction with operators and their services, and the results made publicly available
There is no requirement in either the law or consumer protection regulations that consumer satisfaction be surveyed, let alone that the results be published. There is no evidence that any such surveys have ever been carried out.