Thursday, May 31, 2007

Telecoms law is weak - CAZ

Telecoms law is weak - CAZ
By Pride Bwalya and Florence Bupe
Thursday May 31, 2007 [04:02]

THE Communications Authority of Zambia (CAZ) has admitted that the telecommunications Act in its current form is not strong enough to protect consumers from exploitation by service providers. During a consumer awareness public forum in Monze, CAZ consumer affairs manager Katwamba Mwansa said the telecommunications Act was not effective enough to shield consumers from poor services and high tariffs from some telecommunication service providers.

"The telecommunications Act as it is does not provide CAZ with powers to effectively regulate tariffs and secure the interests of consumers," Mwansa said. "We are in the process of revising the Act, which is expected to be replaced by an ICT (Information, Communication and Technology) Act."

He said the revised Act would address issues of protecting consumer interests without disadvantaging service providers.
He charged that some service providers had been offering high tariffs but did not offer quality services.

"There are some service providers, especially in the mobile telecommunication sector, who are known to charge high tariffs without addressing the poor quality of services. With the new ICT Act, we will strive to see to it that such issues are addressed," he said. Mwansa further said CAZ was working in collaboration with the Ministry of Communications and Transport to ensure that rural communities were sensitised on ICT issues.

"We are working with the communications ministry to make sure that ICT development reaches every corner of the country, including rural communities. This will be facilitated through the universal access policy, which CAZ will use to provide funding for investment in ICTs," he said.

Mwansa also said CAZ was in the process of extending ICT support to learning and health institutions. And CAZ public relations officer Ngabo Nankonde has explained that the ICT Act would provide more powers to CAZ to be involved in tariff regulation.

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