IS tears into Icasa over LLU - TechCentral

IS tears into Icasa over LLU

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Telecommunications regulator Icasa’s new draft regulations on local-loop unbundling (LLU) are “too vague” and “too broad” to be implementable, Dimension Data division Internet Solutions (IS) has warned in a submission on the proposed regulations.

IS says that the only way to “salvage” the regulations is by convening an urgent workshop in which “all industry players work together” to resolve the issues preventing LLU being implemented in South Africa.

Local-loop unbundling is a regulatory process in terms of which Telkom’s “last mile” of copper-cable infrastructure into homes and businesses would be opened to its competitors in some form.

In its submission to Icasa, Telkom has warned that it may have to cut back on investment in network infrastructure and raise prices for consumers if LLU is imposed on it.

Now IS, too, is taking aim at the regulator, warning that the latest draft regulations are “so vague and so broad as to be impossible to implement”.

“What particularly concerns us is that ordinary South Africans and the South African economy as a whole are paying a high price for the time and opportunity that has been lost to industry players through all the delays and the continued monopoly of local loops by a single operator,” says Internet Solutions regulatory affairs executive Siyabonga Madyibi in a statement.

“We’re also troubled by the fact that Icasa appears to have taken no external advice from consultants who have been directly involved in countries where LLU has been undertaken. Nowhere in the world has it been a simple process. Nor, because of its complexity, has it been a process that can simply be replicated from one country or region to the next.”

Madyibi says the “responsible approach” would have been to “ask for advice from people with experience and apply it in the most relevant way to the South African market”.

“Such significant portions and so much detail of the new draft regulations need reworking that written submissions from industry players would, in effect, have to be redrafts of the entire regulatory document,” he says.

“But, each player would inherently see the problem from its own perspective. For this reason, we would like to see everyone in one room at the same time, pooling ideas and concepts for operationally practical LLU — and driving for consensus.

“Icasa could use this input to create regulations that would not only be relevant to the South African circumstance but could be rolled out immediately. A workshop is now the fastest way to make LLU a reality. We simply have no more time to waste, as an industry or a country.”  — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media

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