DoC to hold consultations on ICT policy

South Africa’s Department of Communications (DoC) is to hold a national consultative conference on the legislation governing the country’s ICT sector next week, followed by countrywide consultations on policy changes.

Communications minister Yunus Carrim will on March 3 launch the conference on the new National Integrated ICT Policy Green Paper at Emperors Palace on Gauteng’s East Rand.

HumanIPO reported earlier this month the DoC had extended the deadline for submissions on the green paper – which was gazetted on January 24 – to March 24.

“The ICT sector moves very fast,” said Carrim. “There have been dramatic changes since our last policy reviews over 15 years ago. Previously we regulated telecommunications, broadcasting and postal services separately, in a silo fashion. But the convergence of technologies has since blurred the boundaries between the sectors. The same infrastructure can now be used to deliver voice, video and data. Different services can now be received using the same devices. Clearly, we need new policies and legislation.”

Consultative workshops will take place across the country during March.

Meanwhile Carrim, in his speech at the Mobile World Congress event Barcelona, Spain, called for coordination and cooperation between countries in the area of communications.

“If there are ever so many forces breaking down national barriers, it is ICT that is perhaps most doing this. So, in a sense, we in the ICT sector are more forced than those in other areas to work together and cooperate,” he said.

“There is a strong link between investment in broadband, economic growth and job creation. But to ensure the benefits there would have to be a critical mass penetration of broadband and this should ideally be across augur the entire region.

“In order to stimulate broadband uptake it is critical that broadband is affordable and universal, and the content is relevant.”

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