Nº 6 2013 > Tashkent, Uzbekistan, hosts ITU regional workshop
Quality of service and consumer protection
Tashkent, Uzbekistan, was the venue for an ITU regional workshop for the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) on quality of service and consumer protection in the field of telecommunications, and information and communication technologies (ICT). The workshop, held from 22 to 24 May 2013, was organized in cooperation with Uzbekistan's State Committee for Communication, Informatization and Telecommunication Technologies.
Participants discussed the role of the State in ensuring consumer protection and in regulating the quality of the services provided by telecommunication and ICT companies. Based on the debates, participants concluded that legislation and regulations have a significant role to play in ensuring quality of services and consumer protection in CIS countries, and that they should be harmonized throughout the region. Where the same technologies are used, quality standards should be identical.
Participants saw that there was room for improvement in the existing cooperation between governmental and regulatory authorities. They recommended that CIS countries share legal and regulatory texts dealing with quality of service and consumer protection, as a way of helping countries that still need to draft laws or regulations in these areas.
Food for thought
During the ten sessions of the workshop, 20 presentations were made on different aspects of telecommunication and ICT services. Most of the presentations dealt with ensuring service quality in this era of converging services and technologies.
Specialists from telecommunication administrations, and from research and scientific institutes, talked about quality monitoring, current quality standards and the drafting of new standards. The relevant ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) Recommendations were described and explained.
Two round tables provided an opportunity for a frank exchange of opinions. Among the subjects discussed were the legal basis of consumer rights to quality and protection and regulatory approaches to implementing those rights.
Some participants raised the possibility of imposing penalties on providers that fail to maintain required quality standards, or that violate consumer rights.
Speakers stressed the importance of respecting the rights of people with disabilities, and of taking account of the needs of consumers in different age groups. They called for mutual understanding between the State, businesses and consumers.
Participants identified topics of specific concern to the CIS countries, including number portability, numbering resources, and the creation of shared infrastructure.
The workshop was attended by 49 representatives of telecommunication administrations, regulators, service providers, scientific and research institutions, and universities from eight ITU Member States in the CIS (Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine).
Judged against the specific goals set in ITU's Operational Plan for 2013, the workshop was a success. Participants agreed that ITU should continue to hold workshops of this kind in the future.