ECA Amendment Bill

ECA Amendment Bill

ECA Amendment Bill

Over the past 2 days the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS) held a consultative workshop on the proposed Electronic Communications Act (ECA) Amendment Bill. The purpose of the workshop was to hear oral submissions from stakeholders in order to finalise the Bill that will be submitted to Parliament later this year.

Convergence Partners and Fibreco made a submission on key aspects of the ECA Bill. These included: facilities sharing; rapid deployment framework; and the Wireless Open Access Network (WOAN). 

In the presentation to the DTPS, the principles of facility sharing and wholesale open access is a well-established and has been successfully implemented. It is an opportunity to ensure effective infrastructure deployment in underserved areas based on existing carrier neutral models that have been deployed in the fibre space. The existing operators have not fulfilled licence requirements to address rural and per-urban broadband and under the current market structure they never will. Spectrum remains one of the only levers for government to ensure policy and national objectives are fulfilled.

We support the concept of the WOAN with certain conditions:

  • Credible party to operate: cannot be state-owned, must be in hands of proven open-access wholesale providers that have shown they can do this. Wholesale separation must be enforced; and
  • Workable economics: to ensure WOAN can be effective in delivering on its mandate it needs one or both of a guaranteed offtake from existing operators in urban areas and/or offtake from Government services

No historic spectrum required, however needs exclusive spectrum allocations in bands that will ensure the above conditions are met.

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