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Minister withdraws draft Electronic Communications Amendment Bill

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New communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has announced to a parliamentary portfolio committee that she has withdrawn the Electronic Communications Amendment Bill, TechCentral writes. The draft legislation, which creates the framework for a wholesale open-access network (WOAN) operator, has drawn severe criticism over its proposal to force network operators to provide wholesale access to their infrastructure on a cost-orientated and open-access basis, and the plan to transfer certain powers from telecoms watchdog ICASA to the telecoms minister. In a letter to Jabu Mahlangu, the chairman of the portfolio committee on telecommunications and postal services, the minister said: ‘… I hereby withdraw the bill for further consultations. As part of this process, we will also assess the policy and regulatory requirements needed to support the fourth Industrial Revolution and the digital economy. The Electronic Communications Amendment Bill will also have to evolve to support our drive to create a digital society and should contribute to strengthening and enabling the regulatory environment …’

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