Telecommunications (Amendment) Act, 2004

The Telecommunications (Amendment) Bill 2004 was introduced in the House of Representatives in March 2004. The introductory text of the Bill states :

“These amendments to the Telecommunications Act 2001 purport, inter alia, to bring clarity to provisions considered ambiguous, to encourage investment by creating and sustaining a framework for fair competition and to ensure the availability of quality services at affordable prices; all of the foregoing being required by the International Telecommunications Union and the World Trade Organisation in respect of legislative reform in the telecommunications/ICT industry.”

The Explanatory Notes for modifying the definition of “public telephone service” “..will make it abundantly clear that the Authority will regulate the delivery of all public voice services irrespective of the means used to provide the service (e.g., VOIP)”

Page 3 of the Explanatory Notes for the definition of “value added service” states that : “The existing definition creates ambiguity with respect to the classification of ISPs. Government’s policy requires the regulation of ISPs as public data telecommunications service providers. The revised definition (of value added services) is in accordance with this policy prescription as the definition makes it clearer that value added services are services that provide content and shall not include services by which such content is provided. ……

Various comments/opinions of the Telecommunication (Amendment) Bill :

The Telecommunications Amendment Bill, 2004 was passed in the House of Representatives on the 20th April, 2004. It was passed in the Senate with amendments on 18th May 2004. The House of Representatives approved the Senate Amendments on the 26 May 2004. It was assented to on June 14th, 2004.