Using the Web to Increasing Licensing Transparency

The Internet has proved to be a very effective means of disseminating important information about ICT regulation to various stakeholders.  Many regulators have developed their own websites where they publish information about themselves, relevant legislation and regulations, regulatory decisions and orders, licensees and licensing, the local ICT market, upcoming proceedings, and other important information.  Such web pages are an excellent median for communicating with stakeholders about various issues related to licensing.

 

Regulators around the world have used web-based forms of communication in diverse ways to provide information about licensing.   Many regulators include a section on licensing on their websites.  Regulators use such sections to provide easy access to a variety of information about the licensing framework in their country.  Examples of information that is frequently available on licensing web pages include:

  • a summary of the local authorization regime;
  • information about the categories of authorization;
  • instructions for applying for an authorization;
  • information about licensing fees;
  • licensing guidelines that summarize key aspects of the authorization regime;
  • sample authorizations or summaries of the terms and conditions of authorizations;
  • licensing regulations;
  • explanatory memoranda that provide further detail and explanation about regulations  governing licensing processes;
  • application forms; and
  • lists of licensees.

 

Regulators in Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Botswana, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong China, the U.K., Ireland, Finland, Sweden, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, India, Canada, Brazil, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and St. Lucia, among others, have all included sections on licensing on their websites.

Another helpful source of information available on regulator’s websites is a list of commonly asked questions and answers about licensing.  Such lists are sometimes referred to as “FAQs” (“frequently asked questions”) or “Q&As” (“questions and answers”).  The Uganda Communications Commission, OFCOM (the UK regulator), and Info-communications Development Authority (the regulator in Singapore) have used this form of communication to provide information about licensing, for example.

 

Regulators have also made effective use of the Internet to provide industry stakeholders with information about public consultations on licensing.  Many regulators include a section designed to highlight regulatory news on their website.  Regulators use this section (often called “What’s New” or “News” or “Recent Releases”) to post information about upcoming consultations or to post invitations to attend public meetings.  This type of section is also useful for disseminating information about new licensing opportunities, tenders, and upcoming competitive licensing processes.  It can also be used to announce the successful applicant in a competitive licensing process.

 

One innovative way that the Internet has been used to increase transparency is the live broadcast of regulatory hearings.  In Canada, for example, some public proceedings are broadcast live, in real time, over the Internet.  The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has also posted the transcripts from past hearings dating back until 1998 on its website.  Similarly, the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) has posted copies of PowerPoint presentations made at public consultation hearings on the proposed unified licensing framework.

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