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Basic Access as a Foundation Principle for Uganda's Rural Communications Development Policy.
Unformatted Document Text:  Universal access in Uganda 4 comprehensive telecommunications policy that would guide future sector planning and coordination. Before then, the traditional approach to telecommunications did not cater deliberately to the development of ICT and the sector operated under a legal and regulatory regime based on the public utility model (see Melody, 1997). In 1996 the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication 1 issued a ministerial policy statement that spelled out the government’s multi-pronged strategy to nurture the growth of the telecommunications sector. First, the Uganda Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (UPTC) Act would be repealed. As the core policy instrument under the old regime, this Act protected the state-controlled UPTC as an incumbent operator with monopoly rights, while it also authorized it to regulate the industry. Second, the UPTC’s postal and telecommunications functions would be unbundled and reconstituted as autonomous entities known as Uganda Posts Limited (UPL) and Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL), respectively. The government planned to subsequently divest a proportion of its shares in UTL as part of its privatization but retain control of UPL as a public trusteeship. Third, an independent regulator, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), would be created to spearhead the fashioning of a reformed regulatory environment and new policy framework. And four, the market would be opened up to competition by licensing a Second National Operator (SNO) to compete with UTL as a reconstituted incumbent national telecommunications operator (UTL, 1996; Chance & Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., 1998). The policy statement also enumerated the government’s telecommunications goals. One such goal, which would directly affect the aims of universal access, was to

Authors: Lugalambi, George.
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Universal access in Uganda
4
comprehensive telecommunications policy that would guide future sector planning and
coordination. Before then, the traditional approach to telecommunications did not cater
deliberately to the development of ICT and the sector operated under a legal and
regulatory regime based on the public utility model (see Melody, 1997).
In 1996 the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication
1
issued a
ministerial policy statement that spelled out the government’s multi-pronged strategy to
nurture the growth of the telecommunications sector.
First, the Uganda Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (UPTC) Act would
be repealed. As the core policy instrument under the old regime, this Act protected the
state-controlled UPTC as an incumbent operator with monopoly rights, while it also
authorized it to regulate the industry. Second, the UPTC’s postal and telecommunications
functions would be unbundled and reconstituted as autonomous entities known as
Uganda Posts Limited (UPL) and Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL), respectively. The
government planned to subsequently divest a proportion of its shares in UTL as part of its
privatization but retain control of UPL as a public trusteeship. Third, an independent
regulator, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), would be created to
spearhead the fashioning of a reformed regulatory environment and new policy
framework. And four, the market would be opened up to competition by licensing a
Second National Operator (SNO) to compete with UTL as a reconstituted incumbent
national telecommunications operator (UTL, 1996; Chance & Booz Allen Hamilton Inc.,
1998).
The policy statement also enumerated the government’s telecommunications
goals. One such goal, which would directly affect the aims of universal access, was to


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