National Integrated ICT Policy White Paper - Part 1

Posted by LA Thornton on Wednesday, October 12, 2016
The National Integrated ICT Policy White Paper, dated 26 September 2016, has been published.  In this part 1 of a series, we will to set out the proposed new institutional structures for regulating the ICT industries.  Subsequent parts in the series will deal with specific issues, such as spectrum, universal access, the deployment of infrastructure, and Internet governance.

It is worth noting that all of the existing regulatory structures, including ICASA, USAASA and the .za DNA will be replaced with new structures, while some regulatory functions will migrate to the Minister or other newly established Ministerial groupings.

Following are short descriptions of the various new structures.

Digital Transformation Inter-Ministerial Committee

Cabinet will establish the Digital Transformation Inter-Ministerial Committee, which will be answerable to the Executive. According to the White Paper, the Committee will do two things.
  • oversee the development of a detailed digital transformation plan and road map to realise and prioritise all policies included in White Paper
  • oversee the development of a detailed, integrated national digital government strategy and roadmap, based on a diagnostic assessment of the state of digital readiness across all spheres of government including an analysis of different capabilities and a review of the current systems and technologies.
Inter-Governmental Spectrum Working Group

Government will be responsible for spectrum policy-making, planning and allocation functions, and coordination of the roles of relevant stakeholders across all sectors. The Ministry will establish an Inter-Governmental Spectrum Working Group responsible for research, to develop country positions, and for allocation.

Rapid Deployment National Co-ordinating Centre

The Minister will establish the Rapid Deployment National Co-ordinating Centre and a Rapid
Deployment Steering Committee to oversee the Centre.  The Centre will work together with the Strategic Infrastructure Programme 15 infrastructure established in terms of the Infrastructure Act.  The responsibilities to the Centre are to support the rapid deployment of infrastructure and to interface with local municipalities to fast track rights of way and way-leave approvals.

New Consolidated / Economic Regulator

Regulation across the ICT value chain will be consolidated into one entity. The integrated regulator will have sole responsibility for overseeing and promoting Internet governance, licensing and regulation of networks, services, spectrum and other scarce ICT-related resources, such as numbers and domain names.

Broadcasting / Content Regulator 

Specific broadcasting content regulation (such as licensing and regulation of broadcasting service licences) will not fall under the new Economic Regulator – pending the finalisation of the review of all broadcasting related policies which will consider the framework for policy and regulation of the audio and audio-visual content sector holistically.

ICT Regulatory Review Tribunal

An ICT regulatory review tribunal will be established to appeal decisions of the regulator and/or its committees.

Digital-Development Fund

The USAASA will be dissolved and the USAF will be transformed into a new Digital-Development Fund, overseen by a Board accountable to the Minister.

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