Breaking-news: Parliament adopts Telecom law, affirms Skype’s legality
The Ethiopian Parliament approved the draft Proclamation on Telecom Fraud Offences as Proclamation 761/2012 this afternoon.
The draft legislation was referred to the Science, Communication and Technology Standing Committee of the parliament on May 24, 2012.
The parliament approved the new law after listening to the explanations on the intent and revisions made on the draft legislation by the Committee, according to Honorable Abdusemed Mohammed, an MP from Dire Dawa.
The MP informed this blogger by phone that the Committee explicitly stated, in the agenda paper distributed to Parliamentarians today, that one of ‘the new legislation legalizes the use of VOIP services’.
The agenda paper raised the issue of VOIP services as one of the 5 main issues of the legislation.
The agenda paper stated that the new legislation voids the prohibition on private use of VOIP services by the 2002 Telecom legislation.
However, the Committee said that providing telecom operator service without permit is still prohibited. The statement appears to refer to the provision of Tele Center services.
It is not clear how this affects internet cafes, while the private use of VOIP services for PC-to-PC calls or PC to telephone calls are explicitly affirmed as legal by the Committee.
The Committee named Skype and G-Talk as examples of VOIP services in its explanatory paper.
The parliament had a considerable time debating the legislation, though apparently focused on issues like the telecom monopoly which are remotely related to the matter.
It is not clear whether amendments were made to the sticky sections of draft legislation, which were repeatedly raised in the previous posts in this blog in the past three weeks.
[Stay tuned for updates.]