By Denis Turyahebwa
According to the ICT minister Frank Tumwebaze, the cabinet approved the Broadband policy and this policy carries the “dig and burry once” plan that is intended to prevent telecommunication companies from inconveniencing the public every time they want to burry network cables.
Tumwebaze said the Government will be responsible for these cables that will be buried once and the telecom companies will have to tap from those cables in ownership of the Government.
He added that the policy will optimise usage and increase efficiency of infrastructure utilization and also ensure countrywide coverage of network as opposed to the current concentration in the urban setting.
Minister Tumwebaze said operators seeking a National license will have to cover the entire geographical place of Uganda so as to enable universal access, promote effective competition and quality of service.
On the spectrum management, Tumwebaze said the principle for all operators will be ‘use it or lose it’, and operator will whenever selling their stake through mergers and Acquisition not claim on spectrum therefore the Government will be in position to recall the spectrum and licence.
Spectrum being a scares and finite Government resources, they should not be owned by the private service providers in order to outlaw hoarding of spectrum and enabling realization of economic value of the spectrum through spectrum re-farming.
He also assured that customers will automatically be able to make and receive calls, send messages and receive data or access other services even when travelling outside the geographical coverage area of service provider by means of using the service of the other service provider’s network under the National roaming policy.
When asked whether telecom companies will not look down the policy just like they did with returning airtime scratch cards on the market and what measures will be taken by Government to enforce the policy, Tumwebaze said it is part of their licences so they cannot dare look it down with contempt.
He also said telecom companies will have to reach agreement on cost sharing just like they did on interconnection agreements for different network users to be able to connect.