Government refuses to release impact assessment for open access wireless network

The DA said the government has rejected an application to release a regulatory impact assessment for its wireless open access network plan.

The plan is contained in the National Integrated ICT Policy White Paper, which was recently published by the Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Siyabonga Cwele.

DA Shadow Minister of Telecommunications Marian Shinn said the application was lodged under the Public Access to Information Act (PAIA).

Shinn said no reason was given for the rejection.

“The DA suspects this is because no impact assessment was ever done,” said Shinn.

As the department cannot supply evidence on the plan’s feasibility, Shinn said it can be assumed that the open access network idea is not evidence-based.

Shinn called on Cwele to withdraw the proposal contained in the White Paper.

She said the lack of an impact assessment contradicts the National Development Plan (NDP), which the White Paper claims as its founding document.

The NDP states that “any interventions must be proportionate, consistent, and evidence-based and determined through public participation”.

It also states that the “socio-economic and regulatory impacts of any action will be assessed”.

Shinn said the department must embark on a proper consultation with ICT sector players to draw up new network plans.

“Digitally-excluded South Africans cannot be perpetually sidelined as this ANC government holds up ICT broadband infrastructure and service roll-outs because of its failed developmental state policies,” said Shinn.

Now read: These are the networks which should get more 4G spectrum in South Africa

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Government refuses to release impact assessment for open access wireless network