Uganda Revises ICT Policy

By Samuel Nabwiiso 
The ministry of Information and Communication Technology is developing a new telecommunication policy to allow fair competition in the market.
The policy has three core objectives: to create a conducive environment for the establishment of a fully liberalized technology and a competitive telecommunications sector, to promote the roll out of telecommunication infrastructure and affordable services, and to promote the human resource capacity.

Jimmy Ssamanya, the permanent secretary ministry of ICT, says the country needs a comprehensive policy that will address barriers blocking the penetration of services in rural areas.

“Uganda ranks among the least countries in Africa in as far as using internet is concerned. That is why the ministry must come up with a strong policy to address the problem,” he said

Ensuring that there is access to internet country wide, the policy will address issues like greater integration of ICT skills trainings at all levels of education, developing the National data back bone, reducing the rates of access to internet, among other interventions. The policy is a response to a study carried out in 2003 to access the performance of the sector, and what is needed to drive it forward.

On the issue of roll out of telecommunication infrastructure and affordable services, the policy will enforce the sharing of telecommunication infrastructures and other telecommunication resources among operators, and also develop a pricing and tariff regime.

“This business of every telecommunication company erecting its masts is going to be phased out with this proposed telecommunication policy,” he said.
The new policy also intends to establish the Uganda communications tribunal to hear complaints emerging out of the sector.
Government plans to meet all these objectives by 2015.
Source: The Observe newspaper, June 22, 2011

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