Creating a level playing field

POTRAZ EMBARKS ON AN INFRASTRUCTURE SHARING DRIVE

The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) embarked on a consultation process with the view of coming up with the best method of enforcing Infrastructure sharing in the telecommunications industry. The consultation process started off in April 2014 with a survey on the status of 

POTRAZ EMBARKS ON AN INFRASTRUCTURE SHARING DRIVE

The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) embarked on a consultation process with the view of coming up with the best method of enforcing Infrastructure sharing in the telecommunications industry. The consultation process started off in April 2014 with a survey on the status of infrastructure sharing within the telecommunications industry. The objective of the survey was to allow POTRAZ to have an informed position regarding the current status quo of infrastructure sharing. Subsequently, Potraz released a consultation paper on infrastructure sharing which was released on 16 October 2014. This was followed up by multi-stakeholder Consultative Workshop which was conducted on 15 December 2014.

The workshop was attended by 142 participants drawn from the academia, rural and urban local authorities, traditional chiefs, regulators for other utilities, government officials, independent consultants, telecommunications operators, consumer groups, industry groups, ITU area representative and the local media. The objective of the workshop was to critically analyse the perspectives of the various stakeholders on infrastructure sharing proposals by POTRAZ. The workshop was very fruitful as it managed to convince most of the participants on the need for infrastructure sharing in Zimbabwe and culminated in a consensus to pursue the matter further through the setting up of two Industry Expert Working Groups to deliberate on technical modalities and commercial/Legal aspects for infrastructure sharing in Zimbabwe. The two Expert Working Groups have since been set up and are currently working towards coming up with draft technical details and commercial/legal aspects of the infrastructure sharing framework. The terms of reference for the two Industry Expert Working Groups include among others the following:

i. To come up with a definition for infrastructure sharing and any other definitions necessary to facilitate infrastructure sharing.

ii. To develop a system for maintenance of a GIS database for all telecommunication infrastructure in Zimbabwe.

iii. To come up with modalities for infrastructure sharing with other utility providers outside the telecommunications sector.

iv. To come up with recommendations on the modalities for establishing a one stop shop for infrastructure sharing v. To define the role of government and its relevant arms in the infrastructure sharing framework.

vi. To define the role of POTRAZ in the infrastructure sharing framework.

vii. To examine the general principles of infrastructure sharing.

viii. To come up with a price setting methodology for infrastructure sharing.

ix. To develop contractual arrangements and timelines for infrastructure sharing focusing on the following:

o Basic ordering process

o Reference contract

o Filing of contracts

o Licensee rights and obligations

o Terms and conditions of sharing

o Procedure in case of non-payment

o Dispute resolution procedure

x. To identify infrastructure that can be shared and modalities of sharing. This includes the following among others:

o Sites

o Towers

o Equipment Housing

o Power

o Duct space and ancillary civil works

o Cable pairs

o Transmission links

xi. Consider technical and environmental issues that impact infrastructure sharing

xii. To analyse the various forms of infrastructure sharing and their applicability in Zimbabwe including the following among others:

o Site Sharing

o Network Sharing

o Spectrum Sharing

o MVNOs

o National Roaming

o Tower Companies

o Dark Fibre Companies The Expert Group activities will be coordinated by the POTRAZ Secretariat and the expected deliverables are:

a. Draft regulations covering technical, commercial and legal aspects of infrastructure sharing.

b. GIS Database of telecommunication infrastructure in Zimbabwe. The draft regulations will be circulated to all stakeholders for further consultations. A Public consultative workshop will be held at the end of July to finalize the draft regulations.

Below is the proposed project timeline:

Date Milestone 12 March 2015 Project kick off meeting

13 March – 31 May 2015 Expert Group meetings

1 – 5 June 2015 Expert Group Plenary Meeting

8 – 30 June 2015 Consolidation of input from the two Expert groups

1 July – 14 July 2015 Drafting of Infrastructure Sharing Regulations

15 July – 24 July 2015 Circulation of Draft Regulations to stakeholders

27 – 31 July 2015 One day Public Consultation Workshop.

1 August 2015 Processing of final regulations.