South Africa: ISPA calls ICT Policy White Paper “broadly positive”
4 November 2016
South Africa’s Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA) has welcomed the government’s National ICT Policy White Paper as “broadly positive”.
It said the focus must now shift to how the proposals in the White Paper will be implemented.
“In general, the White Paper is broadly positive and forward-looking and it reflects a much better understanding of contemporary electronic communications and related markets,” said ISPA regulatory advisor Dominic Cull.
“The policy revision is long overdue and many issues have been held back by the delays in finalising it. While we understand that some of the proposed interventions will not be universally welcomed, we now need to get a move on,” said Cull.
ISPA and its 178 Internet Service Provider members are worried, however, about implementation and creating practice out of policy.
ISPA is concerned that the White Paper does not convincingly outline how the capacity and expertise shortcomings of the regulator, or policy maker, will be addressed.
“Our fundamental reservation is that the White Paper still does not address the inability of the current institutional structures to implement its provisions,” said Cull.
“ISPA agrees with comments by the Acting Director General of the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services that there is a need for the status quo in the telecommunications industry to be upended, but this will not happen unless the status quo at the policymaker and regulator are also upended.”
“Historical failure to implement policy is reflected in the fact that most of the proposals in the White Paper are not new.”
The mobile operators, including Telkom, have warned against the policy paper – particulalry its call for the networks to give back their spectrum.