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05.09.2005 General News

A harmonised telecom framework must focus on consumers

By GNA

Accra, Sept. 5, GNA - Ghana's Communication Minister, Mr Albert Kan Dapaah on Monday asked Telecommunication Experts in West Africa, to consider consumer expectations and quality of service as key to the adoption of regional harmonised framework.

"In this era of convergence, our regulatory focus should cover a wider scope of consumer groups including service providers in the Internet Service Provider Industry and other ICT enabled service providers, business customers and the general public at large," the Minister said.

Mr Dapaah made the call in a speech read for him by Mr Owusu Adarkwa, Acting Chief Director of the Ministry, at the opening session of the five-day third Ordinary Meeting of the West African Telecommunication and Regulatory Authority (WATRA) in Accra to finalise the Sub-Regional draft harmonised framework.

The experts would address issues such as cross-border connectivity, numbering, universal access, licensing, spectrum management as well as presentation on Model ICT policy and legislation and Satellite and wireless regulations.

Mr Dapaah said, "As we pursue an evaluation of the chosen topics for the workshop, let's ponder and enquire whether we have adequately engaged consumer opinions to impact on our decision making process. This is where our greatest challenge lies."

He said there was the need for more knowledge sharing in trying to achieve the ultimate goal to regulate effectively to attract investments to the Sub-Region, ensure delivery of affordable and reliable state of the art communication services for all.

The Sector Minister said the quest for developing an efficient and effective regulatory structures in the Sub-Region, required that regulators avoid falling into the danger of hostile relationship with the regulated companies.

"We should at all times nurture mutual dependence, based on accurate information shared to inform quality decision-making," Mr Dapaah said. He urged stakeholders in the Sub-Region and WATRA to take keen interest and make the necessary input in discussions at the global level on Internet Governance being facilitated under the World Summit on the Information Society platform.

"Your inputs as regulators and service providers are relevant as the world tries to develop a management model for the Internet resource as a socio-economic development tool." He added.

Major John Ray Tandoh (Rtd), First Vice Chairman of WATRA said reforms in the sector had been characterised by new laws and policies for implementation in a new and dynamic international market environment.

He said for evolution of the telecommunication sector to succeed, there was the need for regulators in the Sub-Region to fulfil some policy objectives for the regional and national interests. These policies, according to him should include, promotion of universal access to communication technologies, recognition for and protection of consumers and service in the public interest. 05 Sept.05

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