Real progress appears to be at hand, finally, in the development by government of a rapid deployment policy for electronic communications infrastructure, which should make it easier and quicker for operators and service providers to build networks.
The red tape associated with deploying telecommunications networks has long been a problem for operators wanting to lay fibre-optic cables, build base stations and deploy other infrastructure.
Now, the department of telecoms & postal services is set to hold a one-day workshop in Johannesburg this Friday to solicit industry views on what a final policy document should contain.
The workshop follows the publication by Analysys Mason of a detailed discussion paper on how best to develop a policy for rapid deployment. The discussion paper, developed at the department’s request, is authored by telecoms industry experts Robert Schumann, Kerron Edmunson, Steve Lewis, Russell Matambo and William Stucke.
Rapid deployment of electronic communications facilities is intended to support economic growth.
Those participating in Friday’s workshop must be prepared to share their views in an interactive process, the Analysys Mason paper says, as it will be their only chance to influence the translation of the discussion paper into draft policy. Written comments will only be accepted on the draft policy once it is gazetted.
Analysys Mason notes in the paper that under the Electronic Communications Act, prior to its amendment in 2014, the minister of communications (now telecoms & postal services) had been required to issue rapid deployment guidelines. This was never done.
The paper looks at the impact of a rapid deployment policy on operators, land owners, the national fiscus and consumers.
“We conclude that while some parties may be negatively affected, the negative effects could be mitigated through increased sharing and other measures to improve the implementation of deployment, but that ultimately the public interest is likely to be served by ensuring that electronic communications facilities can be deployed rapidly,” it says.
Analysys Mason has identified four broad themes that it believes should be addressed in the final policy. These are areas that may require national co-ordination, and who might be responsible for achieving that co-ordination; communications regulator Icasa’s existing responsibilities, and new ones that may be allocated to it under the policy; specific issues requiring direction that fall to other parties, notably municipalities, private land owners and national government departments; and conflicting interests that arise and may require compromise by one or more parties. – © 2015 NewsCentral Media
- The Analysys Mason report is available here (PDF)