Innovative regulatory and policy initiatives at increasing ICT connectivity in South Africa. Barendse, A. Telematics and Informatics, 21(1):49-66, 2, 2004.
Innovative regulatory and policy initiatives at increasing ICT connectivity in South Africa [pdf]Paper  abstract   bibtex   
This case examines how the opening up of the emergent policy space in South Africa has contributed to the adoption of innovative social regulatory solutions to the massive unmet demand for services. It does so by describing the social regulatory initiatives that have been implemented during the period 1994–2002 (the start of the massive legislative reform undertaken by the first post apartheid government and concludes with the end of the period of exclusive monopoly in fixed line services). The seven initiatives described are license obligations imposed on operators, establishing a convergence regulator, creating a specialist universal service agency, rolling out telecentres, issuing licenses in under-serviced areas, establishing phone shops and other telecom related projects and programs. The case then proceeds to assess the impact of each initiative on increasing telephone connectivity and extending participation to new players. The case indicates that while the imposing of license obligations contributed most to increasing connectivity, the licensing of new operators by the convergence regulator contributed most to the opening up of the market to new participants. Surprisingly, the setting up of community phone shops contributed to both opening up the sector to new participants and to an increase in connectivity. The case also shows that the initiatives that had contributed most to opening up the space and to increasing connectivity, also contributed to its biggest constraints. Firstly, the imposing of license conditions did result in the impressive rollout of 2.61 million fixed lines, yet at the same time 1.5 million people were disconnected or terminated their service, largely due to their inability to afford the service. Secondly, the awarding of the third cellular license was preceded by delays and controversy that undermined foreign and local investor confidence and prejudiced the new incumbent who had to sit on the sidelines and watch the incumbent mobile duopoly garner millions of subscriptions. A further finding shows that while some initiatives contributed to opening the market to new players (e.g. Universal Service Agency, rolling out telecentres) it did not necessarily translate into an increase in access to ICT infrastructures.

Downloads: 0