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The National Integrated Information Communication Technology Policy White Paper was approved by Cabinet earlier this week. The new integrated policy will ensure that quality communications and broadband infrastructure is supplied to all areas of the country, enabling universal access and services.

What the new policy allows

The policy, which replaces the separate White Papers on Telecommunications (1996) and the Postal Services (1998), rests on principles of the Constitution. The paper is currently being drafted and will contain the following:

  • A new Open Access policy that will allow access to existing and future networks by everyone, including new entrants and small and medium-sized enterprises.
  • Contains a new spectrum policy that facilitates spectrum sharing and equal access to the spectrum by all licensed operators
  • Prevent the State from unfairly discriminating against citizens, including discrimination on the basis of social origin.
  • Enable a faster and cheaper roll-out of services through the Rapid Deployment Policy within the new policy
  • Streamline and consolidate government structures, and outline government priorities in terms of delivering services through the modern ICTs.

Dr Siyabonga Cwele, the Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services welcomed Cabinet’s decision as the new policy is the beginning of a legislative program that will amend laws where necessary and set up new proposed structures or institutions.

A universal funding strategy that aims to collects grants to support universal access is also being outlined with the Digital Fund.

The policy will be made available to the public in due course, according to Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services, but until then, consultations with the public are said to continue until the new legislation is enacted.