Legal And Regulatory Requirements For Ict Information Technology Essay
Though more than 160 regulatory bodies were identified to be in existence by the end of 2010 all over the world, in Rwanzia only a monopoly network of fixed telephone lines exists under the direct control of the ministry of Posts and Telecoms.
The GDP per capita in Rwanzia is US$565 and average number of people per household is 5.
Fortunately, this country has recently discovered a huge source of Methane Gas which is located in an underdeveloped area located at 200 Kilometres from its capital city. From the Electrogaz expert, this sources is expected to start producing revenue by the year 2016. (George Magonyozi, 2011)
In reference to that, Rwanzia has decided to transform its status from a least developed country and achieve some sound level of development.
Therefore this document is aimed at advising the government of Rwanzia on the strategies to be used to achieve the rapid ICT growth which will as well be used as a tool for the transformation of Rwanzia's state of development.
CHAPTER1. NATIONAL STRATEGY FOR COMMUNICATIONS DEVELOPMENT
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Nowadays, communication is not an option in regard to national development instead is a necessity. Therefore for a lowly developed country like Rwanzia, to develop it has to first set strategies for developing its communications and information level and one of the most important factors in communications development is the liberalisation of the sector.
Liberalisation of Telecommunication
Rwanzia on its way to developing communications sector to a stage that it can be used as a tool for national development must clearly set up a well defined telecommunications act and telecommunications policies. New laws have to be established and the existing ones be amended to fit the up-to-date communications trends.
Reasons for liberalisation
There are different reasons to why the telecommunications market structure should be transformed from the monopoly to a liberalised one and below are some of them:
Radical development of technologies: due to the radical technological development, the costs for certain types of infrastructure are being lowered, the inefficiency of the monopolies are being exposed and new opportunities for market entry are being creation
Technological convergence: it is being realised from other developed countries in terms technological development that, the previously separated networks/industries are recognising new types of value added services that will lead to the convergence of the different services on the same networks
Internationalisation of the business: the national carriers are being urged to attract customers wishing to establish multinational private networks.
(Stefaan G, Verhulst, 2003)
1.1.2 Advantages of liberalisation
The following are advantages liberalisation in the telecommunications sector
Some of the main advantages of liberalisation include reduced prices for ICT services, new and improved quality of services due to competition that prevail in an open market and increased rate of new investments.
In addition to that, the government fund to the single operator which is government owned will be eliminated and channelled to the development of other social and economic sectors. Liberalisation will also avoid disadvantages of natural monopoly and boost creation of new revenue streams for government through ppp in investments commonly undertaken with private sector. (Evmolpidis V, 2005)
Rwnzania is a least developed country where monopoly still exists by one fixed telephone line which is under direct control of the ministry of Posts and Telecoms. It is mainly located in the urban area with a penetration of 9%. As one of the steps to market liberalisation, this fixed telephone network will have to be privatised so that the government gives up the responsibility of managing the company's operations and focuses its attention on developing the sector. The privatisation of this will also save the government from continually spending resource for its subsistence and will instead use the same resources for the development of social-economic activities and will definitely earn some revenues from the operations of the privatised company.
The regulatory framework
The government of Rwanzia has to establish a regulatory framework that caters for all the aspects that are being targeted in this telecommunications market reform. Some of the points that have to be clear within this regulatory framework include the establishment of the regulatory authority, the market structure and how it will encourage competition, legislations regarding facilitation of market new entrants, technological convergence should also be catered for. In addition to the above, the following list shows almost all the points that should be provided for in the regulatory framework.
Access and Interconnection Directive
Universal Service Directive
Data Protection Directive
Consolidated Directive on Competition in the market place for communications services
Regulation on unbundled access to the local loop
(Source: George Magonyozi, study materials)
1.4 Introduction of Competition
Competition is one of the most important factors in the process of market reform. The government of Rwanzia is being advised to encourage the introduction of competition. This can only be achieved by facilitating new operators to enter the market and putting in place the laws that favour competition.
In addition, the government of Rwanzia is being advised to issue four licenses for mobile telecom operators of course with an interval of three to four years between the issuance of one license and another. With the existence of more than one telecom operators and clear policies in place, competition will automatically be introduced and successful.
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However, the government of Rwanzia should have a close supervision and consideration of the following factors while introducing competition.
Barriers to entry
Market Power and Dominance
Significant Market Power
(Source: George Magonyozi, study materials)
1.4.1 Factors leading to competition
In the early years of telecommunications regime, the services and the networks for particular services could easily be distinguished and regulation of those service as well as networks was practical. However, it came to a point where different services could be provided by different networks (e.g telecom services being provided on computers â€¦) and regulation is no longer possible due to technological trend (convergence of telecommunication and computing). In that case, the market is being subjected to competition to regulate it.
Figure 1. facters leading to competition
(Source: Eileen M. & Douglas P.)
1.4.2 Advantages of a fully competitve market
Since competition can be defined as the situation whereby two or more providers of the same service/product are targeting the same customers, it is obvious that the providers will have to look for the ways of maintaining their businesses otherwise they will have to drop out. So for them to keep their businesses running they will have to introduce different benefits in order to attract more customers and these are considered as benefits of competitions. These include:
Improved quality of services
Introduction of new services
CHAPTER TWO: REGULATORY STRUCTURE
To facilitate access to communications services through enabling regulation and catalyse the country's socio-economic development.(CCK, n,d)
2.2. Objectives of the regulator
The main objectives of Rwanzia Communications Regulatory Agency (RCRA) will include the following:
Increase competition while avoiding the abuse by market power
Create open market for new entrants
Create favourable climate for investment
Achieve transparency between the regulatory and licensing processes
Provision of universal access/service for all
Protect consumers' rights
Efficient management of the spectrum and spectrum usage
Control point of interconnection between competing operators
(George Magonyozi, 2011)
2.3. The organisation structure
Figure 2. Organisational structure of the regulatory body
Internal Auditor section
ICT SRMM: ICT Scarce Resources Management & Monitoring Directorate
ICT InfraDev: ICT Infrastructure Development Directorate
ICT Applications: ICT Applications, Posts & Cyber Security Directorate
EA: Economic Affairs Directorate
Le: Legal affairs Directorate
FA: Finance & Accounting Directorate
CA: Consumer Affairs Directorate
HRD: Human Resource & Administration
2.4. Regulator Vs Commission
While creating a commission or a regulator, the most important points to consider would be the power or authority and the independence of the organ.
The regulator is in principle an independent organ with all the power and authority to implement its responsibilities. The regulator is independent of any political or governmental influence. In policies that establish the regulatory agency, this should be clearly mentioned as one of the conditions or regulations governing the agency. In Europe, the laws were amended purposely to introduce the clause that provides for the independence of the regulatory agency. The regulatory agency "shall be legally distinct from and functionally independent of all organizations providing telecommunications networks, equipment or services,
Member States that retain ownership or a significant degree of control of organizations providing telecommunications networks and/or services shall ensure effective structural separation of the regulatory function from activities associated with ownership or control".(Lloyd & Mellor, n.d)
The major factor that differentiates a regulator and a commission is that a commission is always under control of a particular ministry. Another thing is that a commission is a team of government appointees normally experts that is set up to perform a certain task. The commission relies on courts for dispute resolutions. The commission can also regulate and its duties as a regulator but in most cases it has some limitations in powers and affected by external (e.g governmental) influences.
2.5. Characteristics of effective regulatory authority
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The effective regulatory agency is characterised by the following factors:
Independency: the regulatory authority should be independent in its operations. Here, the the regulator should not be influenced by any of the governmental organisations. Each organ must have defined limitations within the regulation processes.
Funding: unlike a commission that have to be funded by the government through a certain ministry, a regulator has to be self funded. The regulator normally gets funds from its daily activities like spectrum management, licensing, universal access funds in form of revenues from operators and so on. So it has not to be funded by the government as a way of eliminating any reason for external influence.
Accountability: the regulator is always accountable to all the stakeholders including the government, the operators, and the consumers.
The figure below shows the roles of each institution within the regulation process.
Figure 3. Institutional roles in regulation
(Stefaan G, Verhulst, 2003)
2.6 Impact of effective regulation on investment
As illustrated in the figure below, the effective regulation has a very big impact on the invest. When the regulations are clear and transparent, the investors get encouraged to invest in the country or in the sector because they can easily predict the future of their business.
Figure 4. Impact of effective regulation on investment
Source: Trends in Telecommunications Reform, 2009
CHAPTER 3: STRATEGIES OF HOW TO ACHIEVE THE COVERAGE LEVEL OF 65% OF THE POPULATION BY 2016
The strategies to achieve the coverage of 65% of the population by the year 2016, the government of Rwanzia need to set concrete vision, mission, strategies and policies to achieve the targeted goals.
This will definitely need the involvement different sectors (either public or private) and formulation policies of policy.
To improve the well-being of the people of Rwanzia through a modernized economy and society.
Transforming Rwanzia into an information-rich knowledge-based economy and society
Though the government Rwanzia is setting visions and missions, it also have some challenges that hinder their implementation and below are the following:
Least developed country
Narrow economic and export base
Low developed infrastructure
Low developed human capacity
Encourage the deployment and use of ICT in Rwanzia
Increase the efficiency of ICT services
Increase and improve the ICT infrastructure
Improve the level and capacity of human resource
Improve education using ICT
Developing legal and regulatory framework supporting ICT
3.5 Rwanzia's current situation
Population is 43 million
7 million people live in capital city
Teledensity in rural area is 0.65%
Telephone penetration in the urban is 9%
GDP per capita is USD 565
One fixed telephone operator
Table 1. strategic plan on ICT development
Establishment of the policy
The minister communication
Establishment of the regulatory authority
Government of Rwanzia
Establishment of the regulatory framework
Establishment of laws and regulations
Privatisation of the incumbent operator
Regulator + the government
Licensing of the Telecom operator 1
Licensing of the Telecom operator 2
Universal access /service policy
Regulator +the government
Lying down of the fibre optic national back born
Table 2.National plan to acheive the coverage of 65% by 2016
Percentage coverage by 2016
Total coverage by 2016
Privatised incubebent operator
Fixed, mobile , internet
Telecom operator 2
Fixed, mobile and internet
Telecom Operator 3
Fixed, mobile and internet
Universal access /service policy
ICT penetration to unserved
Lying down of the fibre optic national back born
As it is seen in the table above, Rwanzai to achieve the coverage of 65% of the total population by the year 2016, there is a strong need for the contribution of all the three entities; government regulator and the operators.
3.6 Role of the government
Establishment of laws and regulatory framework
Establishing a regulatory body
Setting up environment suitable for ICT development
3.7 Role to the regulator
The regulator has a very big role in increasing the coverage of ICT. Below are some of the roles of the regulatory body
Set a clear licensing framework that attracts the telecom operators
Issue license to competent operators
Licensing process should be clear and transparent
The licenses should have clear conditions and obligations
Set attractive ground for new and international investors
Establish rules for interconnection
Set and implant mechanisms for universal access/services
Ensure effective and efficient management of spectrum resources
Protect newly licensed operators
3.8 Role of operators
The operators, like the regulator and the government, also have a very essential role in extending the coverage to the users. The main responsibilities of the operator include but not limited to the following
Comply with the license obligation
Respecting the rollout plan that
Extending the network coverage to rural areas
Though Rwanzia is a least developed country that limited sources of income, we believe that the newly discovered source of methane gas will contribute much in the economic growth of the country. We also believe that some of the revenues from the methane gas exploitation will be used in some other important sectors like the improvement and increasing of the ICT infrastructure.
CHAPTER 4: RADICAL PROPOSALS ON INTERCONNECTION
4.1 Definition of Interconnection
Interconnection is defined as the agreement between the two operators (bilateral) or more operators (multilateral) on physical and linking of different networks to effect the mutual exchange of telecommunications traffic
4. 2 Levels of interconnections
Interconnection can presently be classified in three levels as mentioned below:
Domestic level: this is the interconnection between domestic networks
National level: this interconnection exists between the national and international networks
While the third one is the interconnection between the domestic network and customer terminal
4. 3 Objectives of interconnection
The main objectives of interconnection include the following
To have seamless communication
To have a common interconnection tariff
To enable users to make and receive calls from any of the networks
To transmit and receive messages from one network to another
To encourage true competition
4.4 Interconnection charges
Interconnection charges can be defined as the amount of money that operators pay each other for the usage of their networks or to facilitate their customers to access or connect with the customers of other operators.
4.5 Procedures of determining the interconnection charges
There are several ways of determining the interconnection charges. These ways are being differentiated depending on the role of the regulator and operator in determining the charges. However, in most countries, the regulators encourage the interconnection rates settlement by the operators themselves and the regulators establish guidelines to facilitate the negotiations
Procedure 1: the regulator can determine the charges and other essential interconnection elements in advance
Procedure 2: the regulator will set the guidelines or standards, the operators through bilateral or multilateral negotiations can establish the rates among themselves basing on the guidelines and/or standards set by the regulator
Procedure 3: the operators without the intervention of the regulator set up the rates through commercial agreements
Procedure 4: here the regulator stands-by as mediator or arbiter in to intervene in case the operators fail to make agreement among themselves or if the operators bring the dispute to the regulator. In this case the regulator will try to settle rates.
4.6 Types of interconnection
There are three types of interconnection
Calling Party Network Pays (CPNP): in this type of interconnection, the operator whose customer is calling will have to pay the operator whose customer is being called
Bill and Keep (BAK): in this case, no operator pays be it the calling or the called party. This type of interconnection is usually used where the traffic from both sides is roughly balancing. It is also called interconnection rate zero.
Receiving Party Network pays (RPNP): in this case, the operator whose customer is being called will have to the operator whose customer is calling. However this type of interconnection is no longer applicable.
4.7 Key issues of Interconnection
There are three important issues of interconnection
Framework and procedural issues: this interconnection issue deals with provision of sufficient regulatory guidelines used for interconnection negotiations, obligation of the incumbent operator in regard to interconnection and interconnection arrangements, dispute resolution, universal services/access and non-discriminatory to facilites or services
Commercial issues: this deals with the interconnection charges (calculation methods), unbundling elements (networks and services), resale of network facilities and services, treatment of competitive and customer information
Technical and operational issues: these deal with standards and compatibility, interconnection points, signalling systems and billing systems, OSS, call related database, access to unbundled network components, implantation of number portability and numbers access, infrastructure sharing and collocation and quality of interconnection services.
(McCarthy Tetrault, n.d)
4.8 Principle of interconnection
The regulator, policy maker and trade organisations propose and adopt various principles of interconnection including:
The regulator providing the regulatory guidelines in advance
The incumbent operator is having the obligations to respect and facilitate interconnection
Transparency is a major principle while determining the interconnection charges
There should be no discrimination of any form within the interconnection arrangement processes
Interconnection arrangements should be cost oriented
(McCarthy Tetrault, n.d
CHAPTER5. NEW SERVICES THAT WILL ASSIST WITH TRANSFORMING THE COUNTRIES ECONOMY
E-government (electronic government) can be defined as the use of ICT to improve the quality of services offered by the government to the citizens or business entities. The use of ICT in public services makes the government more efficient and effective. (Schware 2005).
5.1.1 Functions of e-government
The e-government can be used in the development of the country's information infrastructure, network that are shared, data centres as well as one stop service delivery centres. It is also used in the formulation of information technology laws and framework. The key functions of E-government include
Proper management of resources that include (human resource, public finances) as well as service delivery
Improved quality of service and enhanced way of accessing it
Creates attractive conducive climate of investment
Transparency in government procedures and government accountability
(Nagy K. Hanna and Christine Zhen-Wei Qiang, 2009)
5.2 E- HEALTH
The main functions of e-health include:
Empowering the health professionals by facilitating them to access inform on a real time basis and when needed. It provides them with updated to tools for better risks management. It also enables them to acquire and access up to date knowledge.
E-health enables health consumers to manage their well being by accessing the best and qualified health information sources. This also enables them to actively participate in activities aimed at preventing illness, processes of care and rehabilitation. It also equips them with intelligent monitoring systems and personalised health information
Enhancing health authorise to effectively manage the re-organisation of health delivery systems
(Guohua Bai and Peng Zhang, n.d )
The e-commerce helps in many commercial processes including
E-marketing: this is used in the advertising and market of the product or services electronically or through internet
E-selling: with this one is able to run his or her services by the use of internet. With this kind of service, you can also be able to order goods online, negotiate the prices and sign the contract. This also enables streamline sales and fulfils the operations with end to end order to cash processes
E-service: this services gives an intuitive channel to customers through the necessary process till the registration of the product. It also helps customers to check or follow up the status of their requests online.
The e-education will help a lot in improving the academic sector whereby the students will be able to access any information online. Like wise the academicians will be able to follow the dynamic trend that prevails in the academic sector. In addition, education does not exclusively apply to academicians but can also be helpful in all sectors.
CHAPTER6.CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
The government of Rwanzia, like any other developing country is having a very big challenge but which as well can be solved by time. The big challenges that the country has is that of insufficient resources when it has a very good objective/goal of improving its ICT market structure as well as economic growth of the country. However, the good news above all this is that, the country has discovered within its territories a sources of methane gas which will in few years a very good source of revenue for the country.
These recommendations go to the government of Rwanzia for the effective and successful implementation of their strategies.
Set a regulatory body with sufficient authority and power. The regulatory agency should also be independent
The incumbent operator should be privatized and closely follow up the its behaviour in the market
According to the population of the Rwanzia, the market forecast should focus four national telecom operators.
In addition to the privatised incumbent operators, only two more operators should be licensed by the year 2016 for the effective and secured establishment of the operators businesses and networks.
The government of Rwanzia should benefit from the newly discovered source of methane gas to the maximum by employing the qualified experts during the exploitation of the gas and set concrete and clear procedures and policies for its maintenance.
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