Give Customers What They Paid For Or Else, BOCRA Tells ICT Service Providers

From 1 September, the Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) will start enforcing its Information Communication Technologies Quality of Service (QoS) and Quality of Experience guidelines for telecommunication service providers in the country.

According to BOCRA, the primary objective of these guidelines, which shall apply to all licensees offering Internet, and Telecommunications services in Botswana, is to establish a framework within which Telecommunication Service Providers can report on network quality of service performance.

The guidelines oblige ICT service providers to provide communication services that meet quality of service parameters as set forth by the guidelines, support the intervention of BOCRA by allowing access to the network for purposes of collecting network performance data when requested and continuously measure network performance and keep records of the results of the measurements.

To ensure compliance with these guidelines, BOCRA will mandate service providers to establish well-defined Service Level Agreements (SLAs) with consumers to ensure end to end QoS. The SLAs shall state the minimum level of service performance offered to the customer, not the average level to be achieved for all customers, the compensation to customers if the service provider fails to provide the minimum service level as well as the mechanism for customers to claim compensation which BOCRA stipulates that should be done automatically without requiring the customer to file for a claim.

The guidelines further state that with regard to service interruptions, no subscriber should experience service interruption and not be accorded prompt response. Interruptions affecting at least 5% of the operator’s subscriber base, or affect sites and disconnecting communities from network must be considered critical.

Service providers will be obliged to issue public notices in advance of any planned interruption of services by publishing such notice in a widely read electronic media or print media at least 48 hours before the planned interruption of service and send the notice through the Short Messaging System (SMS), or any applicable digital platform.

The service providers shall also issue public notices stating the number and type of subscribers that will be affected by the planned interruptions and also provide the information for such service interruptions to BOCRA at least 48 hours before the planned interruption of service.

All ICT Providers who do not abide by the guidelines will be punished with penalties as stipulated in the BOCRA Penalty Framework.

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