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Telecom standards come under scrutiny
Posted on: 31-Jul-2012         Source: thebftonline.com
Telecom regulators on the continent are expected to converge in Accra in September this year to get consensus on how to improve industry standards ahead of the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) World Telecom Standards Assembly and the World Conference on International Telecommunication in Dubai later this year.

The Africa Regional Preparatory meeting will afford the continent’s regulators an opportunity to adopt a common position and harmonise strategies that will facilitate support to ITU-Regulations and also deal with matters of standardisation.

Subsequently, the Minister of Communication, Haruna Iddrisu, has launched the 3rd African Preparatory Meeting in Accra following two earlier meetings of the Africa group to examine the many critical issues that the African region has not been able to resolve in the last two meetings.

He said the World Telecom Standards Assembly -- held every four years-- will define the next period of study for standardisation of the Bureau of ITU as it considers specific matters related to telecom standardisation.

“Through standardisation, we will insist -- as we did the last time -- at least on the recognition of a particular mobile phone handset, and having a standardised mechanism to establish which particular product comes from which source and which battery lasts longer and is environmentally friendly as we move towards a green economy,” he said.

Mr. Iddrisu explained that the world’s attention is devoted to the World Conference on International Telecommunication because that is a Treaty Conference and decisions made at the conference will define how Africa secures a functional and technology-relevant set of regulations.

The existing treaty governing international telecommunications regulations was developed 24 years ago at the World Administrative Telegraph and Telephone conference in Melbourne, Australia, which opened the door for the telecom revolution of the past two decades -- including privatisation, liberalisation and new technologies such as mobile phones.

The World Conference on International Telecommunication is therefore expected to define how the African continent utilises benefits from the broadband revolution in order to allow people to gain access to affordable, equitable, high-speed fixed and mobile access including voice, video and data.

“The World has also committed itself to principles of the World Summit on the Information Society, which needs to reflect in the international telecom regulations,” added Mr. Iddrisu.

The Director-General of the National Communication Authority (NCA), the country’s telecom regulator, Paarock Van Percy, said as part of the Africa Regional Preparatory meeting an Inter-Ministerial summit will held to take stock of the efforts to migrate from analogue to digital broadcasting expected to be completed in June 2015.

Ghana, which is a signatory to the Geneva Convention to switch analogue broadcasting system, has set a target of December 2014 to complete the change-over.

“Part of the Inter-Ministerial summit is to consider and harmonise the positions and achievements in terms of deadlines for all the African country, so that we can do all of this with one voice,” he said.

By Evans Boah-Mensah