Draft Telecom Policy sent to government for approval
ISLAMABAD: Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications (MoIT) has finalised draft of Telecommunications Policy-2015 and forwarded it to Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of Cabinet for approval.
This comes on heels of series of initiatives and achievements in the sector over the course of previous year. Minister of State for IT, Anusha Rahman while announcing finalisation of the draft at a dinner had commented that the integrated Telecommunications Policy will be a roadmap for sector development for years to come with socio-economic development at its heart and professional belief that this will mark a graduating step in vibrant telecom sector of the country.
She said the overall vision of new policy will be universally available, affordable and quality telecom services provided through open, competitive and well managed markets and ubiquitously adopted to benefit of economy and society. The telecom sector of Pakistan was deregulated in 2003 and those policies were subject to review after five years of issuance which unfortunately was not done during the term of previous government.
The review and integration of previous policies was incumbent due to emerging trends in telecommunication sector, changes in market character and its structure. Therefore, the elected government of Pakistan Muslim League-N, after taking office, took up review and integration of policies on highest priority basis.
Ministry of IT had during the last year engaged renowned international consultant firm with the help of World Bank for assistance in the task in addition to commitment of human resource from the ministry, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and Frequency Allocation Board (FAB).
Release of draft of the policy for approval, mark the culmination of rigorous exercise spanning over a year, she said. To ensure the element of inclusiveness, consultations with all relevant stakeholders were given foremost importance in the process through meetings, questionnaires, workshops etc, she added.
The minister said the draft was also published on ministry’s website for public consultation. She said the draft policy treats all important areas of telecoms, infrastructure, licensing, services and their ubiquitous adoption, adding besides covering the issue arising out of previous policy implementation, the manuscript includes various new and innovative elements like provisions for a new competition framework satellite communication, spectrum strategy, market based spectrum management, Over the Top services, convergence, communication security etc., which were not present in earlier policies.
Anusha said appropriate realignment in the mandates and areas of focus of Universal Service Fund (USF) and National ICT R&D Fund have also been made to support the “Accelerated Digitisation Goal” of the government for spurring socio-economic growth.
Such an integrated version of national telecoms policy has been attempted first time in country’s history and its provisions are expected to catalyse proliferation of telecommunication networks and services across the country.