Icasa extends deadline for info on high communications costs

2013-07-17 12:39

Telecommunications companies will have more time to submit information about the high costs of communications.

Icasa spokesperson Paseka Maleka said today the broadband value chain study deadline had been extended until July 29 and the call termination market review until August 2.

He said the extensions to submit completed questionnaires would probably not affect the timelines of the overall programme at this stage.

The programme, which consists of five projects, aimed to stimulate public debate and establish regulatory needs regarding communications costs.

The outcome was to stimulate enhanced competition in the sector, resulting in increased consumer choice, enhanced ability to switch suppliers, increased pricing transparency, and fair and reasonable wholesale and retail prices.

The World Economic Forum recently issued its Global IT report for 2013, ranking South Africa 117th out of 140 countries for mobile cellular tariffs.

The programme would review the regulations for voice call termination.

This is the service one network offers another to carry voice traffic to its end users.

Icasa said this service charge had been viewed as a constraint to effective competition and a driver of high retail prices.

“Local loop” unbundling regulations were also in the spotlight.

The local loop is the connection between a home or building and the local exchange of a fixed-line network.

Icasa was to have published draft regulations for local loop unbundling yesterday.

Maleka said this process had taken longer than expected and the future publication date would be known within the next week.

According to Icasa’s website, the programme’s overall discussion document would be made available for public comment on August 19.

Public hearings were expected to be held on September 5 and a findings document published on November 1.

Draft regulations would be published on December 10. Final regulations were expected to be published next April.

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