Africa ICT Regulators Meet in Uganda to Address Over-the-top Media Concerns


UCCKenya’s Communications Authority (CA) is part of the teams in Entebbe, Uganda, for the World Telecommunications Standardization Assembly (WTSA), which is one of the structures of the UN’s International Communications Union (ITU). The event, which will end on October 11, is graced by key ICT regulators in the region to develop the continent’s position in the world’s telecoms standards.

ITU, which is headquartered at Geneva, Switzerland, has been in the telecoms scene for an extended period where it is tasked with matters related to ICT. WTSA, on the other hand, is based on the need to design an agenda for ITU. The event is held every four years. This week’s plan precedes WTSA-20 that will be held in India in 2020.

“Africa’s telecommunications experts, government officials, private sector players, and academia will brainstorm and harmonize a common Africa position on globally contentious issues in telecommunications standardization issues ahead of WTSA 2020,” reads a statement from Uganda Communication Commission (UCC).

By the way, standardization of ICTs is a crucial aspect of the meeting as it serves several functions: it helps in assigning international network codes and customer numbering systems that allocate both user devices and their networks distinct identifiers; it defines and offers international benchmarks of economic issues that are leveraged in the provision of such services to people; it helps in the creation of protocols and test specs as well as quality of service, and aligns to security and digital trends.

The forum is of key interest to Uganda. Specifically, Uganda, among other African nations, continues to be a dumping site of old and obsolete electronic devices due to the price benefits of such products, hence the need to cut the gap between developed and developing countries.

Perhaps the most critical topic of discussion is the regulation of over-the-top (OTT) media such as Facebook and Twitter. Uganda wants the declaration on all OTT concerns. What is more, regulators are positioned to protect African users in terms of personal data misuse and product pricing. In the past, it has been discussed the revenue model of OTT in African mobile operators has never been streamlined.