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Radio licences approved under old, repealed law
In Response To: Those granted radio licences ()


The thirteen new radio station licences that have been approved by Cabinet will not be granted under the new Telecommunications Act proclaimed on July 1st.

Public Administration and Information Minister Lenny Saith said yesterday they will be issued under the old Wireless Telegraphy Ordinance instead.

The ordinance was passed in 1936 and updated in 1950. The new Telecommunications Act repeals the Wireless Telegraphy Ordinance as well as two other pieces of legislation. Section 85 (1) of the new Telecom Act states, “Subject to this section, the Wireless Telegraphy Ordinance is repealed.”

Media reports suggest the licences have already been granted but Saith said this was not the case.

He said while Cabinet had approved the granting of the licences, there were still some technicalities to be worked out before the companies would be legally authorised to start broadcasting.

Saith said the approved individuals must come into his ministry where they will be assigned frequencies and complete all the necessary paper work.

He said the licences were being issued under the now repealed Wireless Telegraphy Ordinance because the Telecom Authority, set up to regulate the sector, was not yet fully operational.

The minister said this was a transitional phase during which the Authority was filling the gaps in its staff. A recruitment drive now underway may last months.

The process of evaluating applications for radio station licences began as far back as December last year, Saith said.

The Government went ahead with the processing of licences instead of waiting for the Authority to do so because a note on the recommendations had gone to Cabinet two months ago. He said Cabinet’s decision was made before the July 1 proclamation of the Act.

The new licences will be issued for a period of two years, expiring in 2006 when all operators under the Wireless Telegraphy Ordinance will have to apply for new licences.

“The same conditions that people have now will apply and at end of two years everybody comes up for renewal,” Saith said.

He said in due course the Telecom Authority would develop new licence forms and arrangements for licensing.

He said the Authority has been kept abreast of all information relating to the radio licences and this made for a seamless transition.

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Those granted radio licences
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