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The Consumer Council today welcomed the Government Response to its Report on Achieving Competition in the Liberalised Telecommunications Market

  • 1996.09.18

The Consumer Council today welcomed the Government Response to its Report on Achieving Competition in the Liberalised Telecommunications Market.

"This is one area the Government has made much progress in opening the market and encouraging competition," said the chairperson of the Council's Steering Group on Telecommunications Policy, Dr. Sarah LIAO, noting that many of the Council's recommendations have already been implemented or are being implemented (for example U.S.O, reduction of barriers to competition, sharing of land space and facilities, exemption of GFA for telecommunications facilities).

Dr. LIAO, however, observed that the Government has only made "very broad statements" on some of the recommendations which it has accepted.

"We would like to obtain more details on how these recommendations will be implemented and, most importantly, a definite time frame for their implementation," she added.

For example, on the anti-competition provisions in the proposed Telecommunication Ordinance, while the Government's intention is to take along the lines of the Council's recommendations in the bill to amend the Ordinance, "it has not proposed amendment to the level of penalty that will achieve the desired deterrent effect," said Dr. LIAO.

Further, on the Council's recommendation that OFTA provides comprehensive guidance on the preparation of customer charters, the Government has responded that the TA will consider issuing a guideline on what kind of basic information should be included in the customer charters and that the contents and format of the document should best be left to the service operators.

"We welcomed the TA's intention to publish comparable service indicators but our concern is that there ought to be clear, specific information capable of assisting consumers to make the right comparison over the quality of service of the operators," she said.

The Government has proposed an alternative way of dealing with the issue of non-discriminatory access to buildings. Instead of the Council's recommendation for statutory requirement, the Government prefers the approach of the possibility of incorporating telecommunication access requirements into the codes of practice for architects and authorised persons.

Said Dr. LIAO : "Again we question when such discussions with the professional bodies will be concluded and details of enforcement of the codes. In the event that such approach should fail, we maintain that the Government should move to legislate in this issue."

On the recommendation which the Government has not accepted, for the creation of a Secretary for Broadcasting, Telecommunications and Communications Technology (SBTC), the Consumer Council remains unconvinced of the Government's assessment on this matter.

On the Government's reluctance to accept the Council's recommendation for a statutory Advisory Board, Dr. LIAO said : "Despite there already exists a open consultation process for the TA, we firmly believe that such a statutory Advisory Board will further benefit consumers by strengthening the independent process of public consultation on key telecommunications issues."


  • People who are interested in the Consumer Council's Report on Achieving Competition in the Liberalised Telecommucation Market may read the extract from our web pages or order for the full report from us.

  • Members of the public who wish to obtain a copy of the Government Response may write to :

The Economic Services Branch
2/F Central Government Offices
Main Wing

Office of Telecommunications Authority (OFTA)
22/F Wu Chung House
213 Queen's Road East

A copy is also placed on OFTA's home page.