Electronic Communications Amendment Bill [B31-2018]

Call for comments opened 14 November 2018 Share this page:

Submissions are now closed (since 20 November 2018)

Telecommunications and Postal Services

The Portfolio Committee on Telecommunications and Postal Services (National Assembly) invites you to submit written comments on the Electronic Communications Amendment Bill [B31-2018].

The Bill seeks to amend the Electronic Communications Act, 2005, so as to:
▪ provide for transformation of the sector through enforcement of broad-based black economic empowerment;
▪ provide for lowering of· cost of communicati.ons, reducing infrastructure duplications and encouraging service-based competition through a wireless open access network service;
▪ provide a new framework for rapid deployment of electronic communications facilities;
▪ provide for new approaches on scarce resources such as spectrum, including the assignment of high-demand spectrum on open access principles ;
▪ create a new framework for open access;
▪ provide for the regulation of international roaming, including SADC roaming to ensure regulated roaming costs, quality of service and transparency;
▪ provide for regular market definition and review to ensure effective competition;
▪ provide for improved quality of services, including for persons with disabilities;
▪ provide for consumer protection of different types of end-users and subscribers, including persons and institutions;
▪ provide for enhanced co-operation between the National Consumer Commission and the Authority; as well as the Competition Commission and the Authority;

Comments can be emailed to Ms Hajiera Salie at [email protected] by no later than Tuesday, 20 November 2018 at16:00

In addition to written submissions, kindly indicate if you would like to make an oral submission

Enquiries can be directed to Ms Hajiera Salie on tel (021) 403 8264 or cell 061 472 9191

Issued by Mr J L Mahlangu, MP, Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Telecommunications and Postal Services

The Electronic Communications Act, 2005 (Act No. 36 of 2005) (the ‘‘Act’’), created the first converged regulatory framework for telecommunications and broadcasting in South Africa. It established the framework in line with developments internationally, renaming telecommunications ‘‘electronic communications’’ for consistency and introducing various changes to the way in which networks and services were regulated. The sector is currently governed primarily by the Act and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa Act, 2000 (Act No. 13 of 2000) (‘‘ICASA Act’’), which establishes the sector regulatory authority. 1.3 Cabinet initiated the review of all ICT-related policies in 2012. The then Minister of Communications appointed a Policy Review Panel in January 2013 following public nominations. The Panel included representatives from the South African ICT industry, academia, NGOs, public institutions and state-owned companies. Research was commissioned to assist the Panel in assessing and diagnosing challenges and to identify proactive policy approaches for the future. The Panel, together with the Ministry and Department, initiated a series of public consultations—broadly in line with the approach for regulatory impact assessments, issued by the Presidency in 2012, prior to the Panel making its final recommendations to the Minister in March 2015. The following Papers were released for public comment as part of the consultation process: The Framing Paper issued in April 2013 sought input on the objectives and goals of policy. A Green Paper released in January 2014 reflected on achievements against the original vision, and asked what core issues or problems need to be addressed in future policy. A Discussion Paper was published in November 2014 outlining a range of options and possible policy approaches to realise the objectives set in the Framing Paper. The Policy Review Panel then prepared the National Integrated ICT Policy Review report in March 2015. This White Paper has been developed after considering the Panel recommendations and the inputs received from stakeholders through the policy review process. Cabinet approved the White Paper on 28 September 2016, following which it was published on 3 October 2016. The National Integrated ICT Policy White Paper outlines the overarching policy framework for the transformation of South Africa into an inclusive and innovative digital and knowledge society. The White Paper outlines government’s approach to providing cross-government leadership and facilitating multi-stakeholder participation; interventions to reinforce fair competition and facilitate innovation in the converged environment; policies to protect the open Internet; policies to address the digital divide and new approaches to addressing supply-side issues and infrastructure rollout including managing scarce resources. In addition, the White Paper outlines policies to address demand-side issues in order to facilitate inclusive digital transformation in the country and provides for a new national postal sector policy framework, in respect of the market structure for the postal sector and the regulation and licensing thereof. The White Paper also addresses issues related to promotion of growth in the ICT and postal industries and provides for institutional frameworks necessary to facilitate the implementation of this policy document. This Bill is one of a number of Bills that will be introduced to give effect to the White Paper, including a Bill creating a new economic regulator, the ICT Sector Commission and a Bill creating a new Digital Development Fund.