The SOS Coalition’s Submission on the Electronic Communications Act Amendment Bill

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The SOS Coalition’s Submission on the Electronic Communications Act Amendment Bill

Today, the SOS Coalition made its written submission in response to the proposed Electronic Communications Act Amendment Bill.
While SOS welcomes many of the technical amendments the Bill purported to fill a number of critical lacunae with, we are, nevertheless, concerned by the substantive amendments proposed by the Bill.

SOS does recognise that the Electronic Communications Act, 2005 (“the ECA”) was passed with a number of errors, inconsistencies, and problems within its provisions and agrees that technical amendments designed to address same are not out of place. However, we do believe that any effort to make substantive changes to the Act needs to be left to the ICT Policy Review process for which South Africans were promised a Green Paper to engage with by the end of this year.

SOS addresses the following critical issues in the following order:
1. Radio frequency spectrum management;
2. Ownership and control matters;
3. Competition matters;
4. Definition of “community broadcasting service”;
5. Proposed changes to licence categories for ECS licensees;
6. Proposed changes to procedures for transferring or ceding a class licence;
7. Proposed introduction of bifurcated ICASA powers in relation to Ministerial Policy And Policy Directions;
8. Proposed changes to Ministerial titles; and
9. Proposed changes to the provisions regarding the Universal Service and Access Agency.