World Bank recommendations to the Draft Palestinian Telecommunications Regulatory Commission Law (Commentary)
World Bank Comments on Draft Telecommunication Regulatory Commission law
November 2008 draft
In the revised draft dated November 2008 a number of earlier comments provided by the World Bank were taken into account. This version is substantially improved over the previous version. The revised draft provides the Authority with more tools to address regulatory priorities. The Governance structure of the regulatory Authority is substantially improved and the overlap between regulatory functions and policy making functions previously prominent in the earlier version has been largely addressed in this improved version.
Despite those noteworthy improvements, there remain a number of areas that require additional attention to strengthen the independence of the Authority. The draft still allows for a continuing role of the State in regulatory affairs, notably through Executive involvement in selection of the Board. It also allows instances where the Regulator becomes involved in operations of telecommunications networks. In addition, the revised version opting for the creation of the Authority by Cabinet decision weakens its legal foundation. The revised draft fragments the responsibility of spectrum licensing between the Ministry and the regulator. By giving the responsibility to the Ministry to license audio visual services, the draft creates ambiguity as the definition of audiovisual services may be open to interpretation. This can create institutional uncertainty and delay the introduction of converged services.
The detailed comments focus only on the changes made in the November 2008 version of the draft telecommunications bill to the version of August 2008. A number of additional areas of improvement have been highlighted in the recommendation column. Earlier comments on the August draft that have not been reflected in the November draft continue to be relevant and worth additional consideration by the drafting team.