03-06-2004, 06:30 PM
Often then I read these forums, I see people calling on ICASA to hit Telkom (and Sentech) with extra regulation for all the bad[?] things they've done.
But I cann't help to feel that extra regulation isn't the solution. Isn't the goal to get as many as possible telecoms competitors, so that we are able to choose one with good service ? Weren't many operators scared away from bidding when they saw the restrictions that will be imposed on the SNO ?
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NIC - the answers to your questions are not straightforward, and actually warrant a 'yes and no' type of response. Competition is not necessarily going to provide more beneficial consumer choice, nor will it assure acceptable service from the current players. The SNO investment debacle actually came about due to false-value license purchases which led to the crashing of the ICT sector globally (as popular media report it - the 'dot.com' crash - though it was much more than this, and included huge players like Worldcom) - the result was more an inability to invest, rather than a reluctance to do so. Of course, there are analysts who will disagree, but then I try to sort the wheat from the chaff, particularly when considering economic analyses...
My personal belief is that it's not more or extra regulation that is warranted, but rather partial regulation that is focussed on ensuring societal developmental imperatives. In other words, the existing regulatory regime (which won't go away, irrespective of the stance of the free marketers) must be properly leveraged to ensure (1) removal of monopolistic conditions (2) recognition and active deployment of convergence technologies (3) constrained margins in the interests of reduced consumer pricing (4) service delivery with real national coverage, and so on...
My biggest problem is that Government and ICASA just take too goddamn long to do that which needs to be done. By the time they wake up, they've dropped the ball already, due to the pace of technological change, amongst other things. As a mundane case in point, just look how long it's taken for ICASA to respond to the MyADSL complaint. Not to mention the recent response from the DTI... *sigh*