Analysts argue that governments in cash-strapped developing countries often tread a tightrope between a need to shore up the state coffers for public spending, and a responsibility to address critical telecommunications access for the poor. Telecommunications make money – lots of it – and many governments know that this money can be used to fund basic services, such as water, housing and electricity. But in the process universal access promises go adrift, as is the case with Uganda’s high taxes on telecoms services, write Wairagala Wakabi and Alan Finlay.
In Peru companies like Claro or Telefónica ignore rules and regulations when the time comes to sign the contract with the end user. Moreover, they reserve the right to block certain types of internet traffic, like voice over internet, infringing on a principle referred to as “net neutrality”. In one of our latest investigations, APC analyses this principle and illustrates it with examples from both Peruvian legislation, as well as the practices of the telecommunications companies in the country.
Business Report & Independent Online, South Africa
'Telecoms gorillas need independent regulator'
22 July 2009
A research article published in 2007 by Robert Horwitz and Willie Currie, from the department of communication at the University of California-San Diego and the Association for Progressive Communications, respectively, certainly supports Lewis' concerns about the regulator's lack of independence.
The paper examines how Telkom's controlling shareholders were allowed to dictate the government's telecoms policy in the years after its privatisation.[...]
The Independent, Uganda
Don't miss this chance
21 July 2009
[…] A 2008 study by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) on the effects of ownership of the South Atlantic 3/West Africa Submarine Cable (SAT-3/WASC) on the communications markets in Angola, Cameroon, Ghana and Senegal found that the potential of the cable had not been properly exploited. The study found that ownership of the cable by telecoms incumbents, such as MTN and UTL owning shares in EASSy in Uganda, reinforced their market positions.[…]
The Andean region has some of the lowest fixed telephone line, mobile telephony and broadband penetration rates of all Latin America, the continent with the starkest economic disparities in the world. In the 90s, Andean countries adopted new liberalisation and privatisation policies in order to attain universal access. Almost 20 years later, these promises have not been fulfilled. APC studied each country through national reports in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela in order to understand this failure. As the State in countries like Venezuela and Ecuador has begun to play a more pro-active role, the research also analyses their effectiveness and the opportunities and challenges of this renewed involvement.
In the Congo, people are paying for a service that cannot even meet their needs. Poor connectivity and staggering costs that can be as high as USD 2 make it difficult to promote widespread use of the internet. In a country where people earn as little as three or four dollars (US) a day, it is impossible for 97% of Congolese to even access the internet. And those who do, are not guaranteed to get what they need from it: it can take over an hour to download a single file. With the newly re-elected government back in power, ICTs are becoming an increasingly important issue for the country’s economic and social development. Will this new presidential term bring successful reforms to the sector? APC looks at the state of ICT policy in the country and the road ahead.