MCI seeks public feedback on proposed amendments to Telecommunications Act and Media Development Authority of Singapore Act

05/08/2016

Singapore, 5 August 2016 - The Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) is seeking public feedback on the proposed amendments to the Telecommunications Act (TA) and corresponding changes to the Media Development Authority of Singapore Act (MDAA). The public consultation will be from 5 August 2016 till 24 August 2016. 

Fast Changing Telecommunications Landscape

2 The TA is the legislative framework that governs the regulation of Singapore’s telecommunications sector. It was last revised in 2012. MCI and the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) are reviewing the TA to ensure that policies and legislative frameworks remain relevant and effective in the fast changing telecommunications landscape. 

3 In this review, MCI has made a few observations. Firstly, MCI recognises that consumers and businesses’ reliance on telecommunication services has increased significantly over the past few years. As a result, demands and expectations for reliable and better quality telecommunications services have gone up. Secondly, both IDA and MDA have put in place a suite of consumer protection measures to safeguard consumer interests. However increasingly, consumers tend to face issues that are more individualised or contractual in nature. Such consumer types could be better served through a dedicated platform. Lastly, end-users and businesses may not be able to have the freedom to access telecommunication services from operators of their choice. It will be important for any obstacles here to be removed so that consumers and businesses can fully reap the benefits of competition. 

4 Bearing in mind these observations and to ensure that the TA remains effective, MCI is proposing to make the following key changes to the TA and some related amendments to the MDAA. 

Key Proposed Changes 

5 Demand for mobile telecommunication services in Singapore has increased over the years. In our dense urban city, the most optimal way for mobile operators to deploy their infrastructure to complement mobile coverage is to use building rooftops to serve multiple buildings from one location. Hence, MCI proposes to expand the rent-free Mobile Deployment Space (MDS) requirement, to cover both rooftop and non-rooftop areas. Building owners will have to provide some rooftop space for mobile network equipment, if requested. The total amount of MDS to be provided on a rent-free basis will remain unchanged initially, and mobile operators will continue to negotiate with building owners to obtain additional space beyond this amount. If building owners incur costs in providing access to the rooftops, the mobile operators will bear these expenses.
 
6 MCI also proposes to empower IDA and MDA to establish an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) scheme for the telecommunication and media sectors. Today, IDA and MDA facilitate the resolution of consumers’ individual disputes with their service providers, but are unable to mandate solutions. An independent, dedicated ADR scheme will complement existing consumer protection measures, better serve consumers and resolve their disputes with the service providers more fairly and effectively. While it is envisaged that specific telecommunication and media service providers will be mandated to participate in the proposed ADR scheme, consumers will have the flexibility to choose to resolve their disputes through the ADR scheme, or other avenues. 

7 There will also be administrative amendments to the TA to strengthen IDA’s regulatory oversight of the telecommunication industry. For example, in view of the rising number of cable cut incidents in recent years, MCI and IDA propose to increase the maximum composition sum for offences under the TA from $5,000 to $10,000 to more effectively deter future occurrences. 

Submission of feedback

8 The public consultation paper and procedures for submission of feedback are available on MCI’s online consultation website at www.mci.gov.sg/TAconsultation and the REACH public consultation portal at https://www.reach.gov.sg/participate/public-consultation from 5 August 2016. All submissions should reach MCI no later than 24 August 2016, 12 noon. 


9 Please refer to the following documents:

Annex to Media Release: Public Consultation Document
Annex A to Public Consultation Document: Telecommunications (Amendment) Bill

MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION

5 AUGUST 2016 


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11 August 2016

In response to requests to extend the deadline for the submission of responses to the public consultation on “Proposed Amendments to Telecommunications Act and Media Development Authority of Singapore Act”, MCI has decided to extend the deadline for submissions to 12 noon, 31 August 2016. No further extensions will be granted. We look forward to receiving feedback on the proposals.


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