Telecommunications and Postal Services on implementation of National ICT Policy White Paper

The Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Dr. Siyabonga Cwele engaged the ICT Sector on the implementation of the National ICT Policy White Paper

The Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Dr. Siyabonga Cwele engaged the ICT sector on the implementation of the National Integrated ICT Policy White Paper.

This is the fourth consultation with the sector since Cabinet approved the White Paper on 28 September 2016. The White Paper was introduced to facilitate radical transformation of the industry to diversify participation by SMMEs, black, youth and woman enterprises.

It also seeks to enable competition throughout the value chain of the sector, which will allow smaller companies to access capacity from a wholesale service provider.

In terms of this arrangement, the policy envisages that the scarce radio frequency spectrum will be allocated to a single wholesale service provider, a radical departure from the current arrangement where spectrum is allocated to individual companies.

The meeting with the industry discussed ways to implement the policy. The following stakeholders participated and made individual presentations:

Internet Service Providers Association

Black IT Forum

SA Communications Forum

Fibre To The Home Council

Wireless Access Providers Association

Institute of IT Professionals SA

Wi-Fi Forum

ISOC Gauteng

Interactive Advertising Bureau

There were also other industry associations that attended but did not make presentations.

The meeting generally welcomed the consultation on the implementation of the White Paper. The associations also welcomed the intervention to grow and facilitate the transformation of the ICT sector as contained in the White Paper.

The general sentiment was that the policy is forward-looking and poised to take South Africa to an inclusive digital society that is envisaged in the National Development Plan.

Stakeholders committed to making submissions on the implementation of the policy on issues that include infrastructure, competition, licensing framework, universal access and skills development. They view this is a significant step towards digitising South Africa.

Minister Cwele welcomed the willingness of the sector to engage on the development of the implementation plan of the ICT Policy.

“It is very encouraging to see how the industry is willing to partner with Government on this critical mission of transforming the sector. We can only implement the policy successfully if we partner with all stakeholders. The policy is final and we welcome the opportunity to engage with our stakeholders. We shall be taking these consultations to provinces in the next calendar year.

“These consultations are very important because we want to implement the policy in a manner that is least disruptive to the sector,” said Minister Cwele.

He said the importance of the sector is highlighted by its inclusion in Government’s Nine-Point Plan to accelerate economic growth and development.

The Department is now focused on developing an implementation plan, which will include a presentation and engagement with Parliament and with local stakeholders throughout the country through the National ICT Forum.

Source: Government of South Africa

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