CAT union asks senate to impeach NBTC

Don Sambandaraksa
30 Jul 2013

The 41-strong state enterprise workers confederation led by the CAT Telecom union has petitioned the senate seeking removal of the regulator on constitutional grounds.

The union alleges that that the frequency allocation act is unconstitutional, and that the actions of the NBTC since its formation three years ago has favored foreign operators and posed a risk to national security.

The frequency act stipulates the severance of the state telco’s 30% concession so that it is to be paid directly to the regulator rather than the state telco first, effectively shortening the concession.

The CAT union argues that this conflicts with another article in the constitution (305) that says that the laws created for the regulator must not affect the length of the concession.

The union also objects to the NBTC’s infrastructure sharing notification - which came into effect on April 24 - and the draft telecommunications consumer protection notification. The union has argued that both are geared towards private sector operators and destroy any chance of profit for the state owned telco.

It also said that the 3G auction was designed to favour the private sector operators, and the issuance of the licences would lead to massive losses for the state.

Finally the letter noted that national security was at risk now that foreign owned companies dominate the telecommunications sector and that it would be clear that no conversations would be safe from eavesdropping.

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