New bill will grant UCC power to fine QoS offenders

3 Dec 2012

New legislation currently awaiting presidential approval will see Uganda’s telecoms regulator the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) merge with TV and radio watchdog the Broadcasting Council, writes local paper New Vision. The Uganda Communications Bill 2012 would also allow the regulator to fine operators for poor quality of service (QoS), with the penalty based on the gross annual revenue of the provider in the previous year. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that the wireless sector suffers from high rates of dropped and blocked calls, which the UCC attributed to operators not expanding capacity to meet the demands of the expanding user base: a study in late 2011 showed that none of the nation’s operators were meeting the minimum QoS requirements as set out by their operating licences. In February 2012, the UCC responded to a ‘public outcry’ over poor service quality and began drafting new measures to fine telcos for failure to meet basic requirements.

Commenting on the new legislation, which received the green light from Parliament in September this year, UCC’s legal services director, Susan Wegoye added that the watchdog would be able to efficiently monitor QoS: ‘We have equipment capable of monitoring the performance of telecom companies on parameters agreed upon. So, if a call is dropped, blocked or the network fails, our equipment is in position to record and aggregate all these.’