Universal Access and Service in South Africa: Policy Success, Policy Failure and Policy Impact
21 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2017
Date Written: June 5, 2017
In 1994 South Africa’s new democratic government embraced universal access and service (UAS) as the centrepiece of telecommunications policy. International best practice for UAS had been developed and promoted under the growing hegemony of an international telecommunications reform regime from the mid-1980s. Its implementation in South Africa has been widely criticised. However, examining the track record through the heuristic lens of McConnell’s policy success and failure framework provides a more nuanced assessment of the relative effectiveness of this policy shift. The implementation of the new UAS policies between 1994 and 2014 is documented, analysed and interrogated, examining the effectiveness of the process, the success of the programmatic implementation, and the political outcomes. Under each aspect the outcomes appear at best mixed. Nevertheless, a long-term fundamental paradigm shift in the landscape of telecommunications policy has resulted, suggesting that theoretical and practical questions of policy success and failure may need further examination.
Keywords: Policy failure, policy success, universal access, universal service
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