Following requests from several stakeholders, South Africa’s Department of Communications has extended the deadline for submissions on the National Integrated ICT Policy Green Paper from 24 February to 24 March.
“The ICT sector moves very fast. 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,” said Minister of Communications, Yunus Carrim.
National Public Hearings on the Green Paper will be held on 4 March, and will be followed by provincial public hearings.
There were three White Papers and one Green Paper that were produced since 1994:
• White Paper on Telecommunications Policy (1996)
• White Paper on Postal Policy (1998)
• White Paper on Broadcasting Policy (1998)
• Green Paper on e-Commerce (1999)
“Over the past few years, markets have changed with the entry of new players, major technological developments have occurred and new thinking in how services can be delivered and used has emerged,” Carrim added.
Among the issues considered in the Green Paper are telecommunications; broadcasting; postal services; e-services, including e-government and e-commerce; cyber-security; e-literacy; and universal access and service.
“The growth of the ICT sector is crucial to our economic growth, development and job-creation goals. The Green Paper is aimed at encouraging the widest possible discussion among the stakeholders and the public generally on how we can significantly develop the ICT sector to ensure that South Africa becomes a more effective knowledge economy and information society in this increasingly digital age. We urge people to take part in the public hearings,” he concluded.