fyi.... from SA
VOIP to be legal at last
BY PAUL VECCHIATTO AND RODNEY WEIDEMANN
[Johannesburg, 2 September 2004] - Communications Minister Ivy
Matsepe-Casaburri announced today that as of 1 February next year,
value added network service (VANS) providers will be allowed to carry
voice using any protocol.
This means that thanks to the changes made to the Telecommunications
Act, the long-awaited legalisation of voice-over IP will finally be
realised early next year.
“Because of technological developments, there is no longer any
difference in the transmission of voice, video and data, therefore it
is no longer necessary to prohibit the provision of voice by VANS,”
Another change allows for self-provision and greater choice for mobile
operators, which may now utilise any fixed lines that may be required
for the provision of the service, including fixed lines made available
by Telkom or any other person providing a public switched
Other changes include:
* Provision of public pay phones. Any person may now apply for a
licence to provide public pay phone services in any area of the
republic. “The department is considering the removal of licensing
requirements to provide these services.”
* Cession of telecommunications services via VANS. From next year, a
person who provides a value added network service shall be entitled to
cede or assign the right to use, or to sublet or part with control or
otherwise dispose of the telecommunications facilities used for the
provision of the value added network service.
* Private telecommunications network operators shall be entitled to
resell spare capacity and facilities or to cede or assign his or her
rights to use such facilities or to sublet or otherwise part with
control thereof. The minister says allowing these facilities to be
resold would promote optimal usage of the total telecommunications
infrastructure in SA and increase access to communities and consumers.
* As from 18 January 2005, public schools and further education
training institutions will be entitled to a 50% discount on: all
telecommunications calls to an Internet Service Provider, any
connection or similar fees or charges levied by an ISP for accessing
the Internet or transmitting and receiving any signals via the Internet
or for such access and transmission and reception.
Minister Matesepe-Casaburrri says further policy announcements will be
made in October. These will address the issue of service-based licences
to be operational by May 2005, the remaining underserviced area
licence, the SNO, the convergence bill and the ICT BEE Charter.