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APC joined Rhizomatica, Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA), the AfChix Uganda chapter, BOSCO Uganda and the Internet Society to submit comments to a public consultation on the proposed review of the licensing framework for the telecommunications sector in Uganda.
The submission emphasises the need to enable alternative approaches to broadband delivery that can complement existing network operator models, and the consequent need for enabling regulations to unleash the potential of community networks and other small network operators to deliver affordable access everywhere.
Among other recommendations, the submission calls on the Uganda Communications Commission to enable affordable access to spectrum and other resources by specialised operators (both for-profit and not-for-profit) providing access to the underserved, especially in rural areas. Possible measures include:
Set-asides of spectrum for mobile telephony and data.
Secondary use of spectrum using white spaces concepts in both TV bands and mobile bands.
Removing the need to obtain an authorisation prior to deploying Wi-Fi equipment.
Creating a spectrum fee structure that is more granular and conducive.
Transparency in the location of fibre networks, their points of presence, location of towers, and their characteristics and equipment.
The submission also stresses that it is unlikely that the existing gender access gap will be bridged in Uganda if policies and regulations do not actively enable the participation of more women in the telecommunication industry, and therefore recommends adopting a gender-sensitive framework and guidelines.
Read the full submission here.