[APC Chakula] South Africa - APC supports national regulator against monopoly

Chakula chakula at apc.org
Mon Mar 10 11:55:52 GMT 2008


APC supports South African regulator on its stand favouring open access
to the internet

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, March 7 2008

The Association for Progressive Communications (APC), an international
non-profit actor on internet access worldwide, has stated its
whole-hearted support of the Independent Communications Authority of
South Africa (ICASA) for the drafting of regulations prescribing a list
of essential facilities for electronic communications. “The introduction
of these regulations creates conditions of open access on a
non-discriminatory basis to undersea-based submarine cables,” says
Natasha Primo, national policy manager at APC.

At the same time, APC calls on ICASA to take immediate action to counter
anti-competitive behaviour of Telkom, the dominant fixed line operator.

“This is needed if the regulator is to enforce the right of South
Africans to choose telecommunications networks and services at an
affordable cost,” states Primo. “Telkom’s sole control of submarine
fibre-optic cables such as SAT3/WASC/SAFE undersea cable, the landing
station at Melkbosstrand, as well as the land-based fibre optic cables
has resulted in anti-competitive practices and consequent exploding
telecommunication costs.”

The cost of international bandwidth in South Africa is 4-5 times that in
comparable markets in Malaysia and Brazil and much slower (international
internet bandwidth access in South Africa is 29 bits per person compared
to 127 in Malaysia and 154 in Brazil). “The South African consumer and
economy is bearing the brunt of the costs of Telkom’s prize squeeze for
access to fibre-optic network capacity,” Primo adds.

APC strongly urges ICASA to disregard Telkom's call for a market review.
“This is a red herring and a clear delaying tactic,” argues Natasha
Primo. Telkom has a clear significant market power in the essential
facilities market.

Finally, APC proposes that the undersea-based fibre optic cables, the
cable landing station, co-location space, land-based fibre optic cables,
main distribution frame and backhaul circuits are listed as essential
facilities with immediate effect.

The full statement from APC is available online:

The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) is a global network
of civil society organisations working to - amongst other aims - advance
affordable access to information and communications technologies for
social justice and development. Network members are primarily based in
developing countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, South
and East Asia, and South and Eastern Europe, including four in South
Africa: Community Education Computer Society (CECS), SANGONeT,
Women'sNet and Ugana-Afrika.


For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Karen Higgs, APC communications manager
Tel : +598 2 400 6460
Email : khiggs at apc.org

OR, in South Africa:
Natasha Primo, APC national ICT policy advocacy coordinator
Tel: +27 83 4604525
Email: natasha at apc.org

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