The Telecommunications Commission Solomon Islands (TCSI) is an independent expert statutory authority, charged with the economic and technical management of the telecommunications sector in Solomon Islands.
Established in 2009 through the passage of the pdf Telecommunications Act (2009) (627 KB) in the National Parliament, the Act and as a result, the Commission’s aims are to improve the long-term well-being, affordability and quality of telecommunications services in the country.
This is primarily to be achieved through the introduction and maintenance of competition between private sector commercial enterprises, and the end of political and public service involvement in the industry's operations. As a result of this shift, the era of a single monopoly operator was also brought to an end in 2009 by the Telecommunications Act.
The Commission’s core functions are:
- To regulate and facilitate the development of the telecommunications sector and;
- To manage Solomon Islands’ radio-frequency spectrum resource and;
- To safeguard competition and the interests of consumers.
Roles and Responsibilities
The Commission is responsible for ensuring the effectiveness of the statutory market driven approach, while also protecting the interests of consumers and encouraging sustainable investment in the telecommunications sector.
The Commission enables competition by facilitating market entry through its general authorisation (Class Licence) for network and service provision. Its particular activities include:
- Ensuring operator compliance with particular licensing and statutory obligations;
- Monitoring competitive conduct in urban and provincial centres;
- Facilitating the development of telecommunications, especially in rural areas;
- Supporting the interests of telecommunications users within the Solomon Islands
- Ensuring the efficient management and use of radio spectrum and telephony numbers;
- Operator and consumer dispute resolution;
- Surveillance of the established telecommunications operators, focusing on pricing and quality of service, and competition, as well as consumer considerations such as billing practices, false and misleading advertising claims, protection of customer personal information and customer complaints.
Role of the Government
While the Commission has sole responsibility for operations under the telecommunications legislation, the Ministry of Communication and Aviation remains responsible for overall telecommunications policy, including international relations in telecommunications matters. The Commission nevertheless provides a support role to the Ministry on technical and economic matters.
- The Government is responsible for policies
- The Commission is responsible for technical operations
Moreover, The Ministry of Communication and Aviation’s Television Board is responsible for granting licences for television broadcasting services in the Solomon Islands.
The Commission and other Public Sector Agencies or SOE's
The Commission is modelled on similar agencies in other parts of the world but is a unique creature in the Solomon Islands. It is neither a government department nor a state enterprise. It is a statutory authority which is independent of government in all respects.
The Commission is not funded by parliamentary budget appropriations but through services licences fees paid to the Commission by the operators.
In the exercise of its statutory powers and functions the Commission is not subject to the direction and control of government ministers and officials.