The Uganda Communications Act, 2013 (the Act) seeks to among others, develop a modern and vibrant Communications sector, which includes telecommunications, data, radio and postal communications, and broadcasting.
In order to achieve the aspirations of the Act, a number of strategies have to be employed including but not limited to expanding the existing variety of communications services available in Uganda to include modern and innovative communications services.
To this end, the Act mandates the Uganda Communications Commission (the Commission) to, among others, implement the objectives of the Act. Section 22 of the Act requires that a person shall not, establish a telecommunications station, provide telecommunications services or construct, maintain, or operate telecommunications apparatus without a licence issued by the Commission.
The Commission recognises that the construction, operation and/or maintenance of communications infrastructure is typically very costly, and the leasing of passive network infrastructure currently accounts for a significant portion of the overhead costs of a typical service provider in the communications sector.
The National Broadband Policy of 2018 (the Policy) noted that there is underutilisation of the optic fibre capacity on all the networks in Uganda due to telecom operators opting to utilize their own infrastructure.
The Policy further notes that the duplication of optic fibre deployments translates into a high total cost of ownership for all communications infrastructure Operators, which is reflected in the high cost of bandwidth and ICT services generally.
The Policy thus concluded that there is a need to have a comprehensive framework to facilitate coordination of all Government interventions in the development of broadband infrastructure; and also to regulate the private sector to ensure sharing and complementarity of their broadband networks to avoid duplication in the deployment of the infrastructure.
Accordingly, the Policy identifies as one of its strategies towards the objective of connectivity for all; to regulate, coordinate and harmonize the development, deployment and sharing of all broadband Infrastructure (both private and public) among all stakeholders.
Based on the above, the Commission now seeks to establish a framework that shall guide and foster the deployment and sharing of communications infrastructure in Uganda.
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