Control Of Internet Providers ‘Tricky’ - Symposium

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  • Office of Regulator ACEO, Fesolai Cecily Fa’asau
    Office of Regulator ACEO, Fesolai Cecily Fa’asau

The Law Society symposium held this week at the TATTE convention center dealt with some of the issues that the Office of the Regulator (OOTR) is looking at in order to regulate Internet Service Providers (ISP) as well as contents that the public have in their possession.

The presentation by the ACEO of OOTR, Fesolai Cecily Fa’asau which calls for an opinion of the main ISP in the country, saw a positive feedback with an assurance that while technology is crucial, there are things that are needed to be controlled, but with the right laws in place for them to be effective.

Fa’asau agreed that under the Telecommunication Act that Samoa currently uses to regulate Internet services, the scope of the Act should be expanded with the right emphasis on how Over the Top (OTT) Internet services should be controlled.

"It is very tricky" assured Fa’asau who then revealed that while OOTR is trying its best to sustain the ISP in the country, regulating what they can service the country with "is a lot more complex than it seems" as there are quite a different types of internet services provided that the Samoan jurisdiction cannot automatically regulate.

Fa’asau revealed that there are uncommon sections of the Telecommunication Act that deals with the content service providers such as netflix and YouTube, and those companies, which operate these massive companies, it is very uncommon for Samoan jurisdiction to regulate the issues they possibly provide with them for the public.

OOTR according to Fa’asau is also looking at ways to regulate what the public put in their phones such as pictures and audios.

"Whatever you put on the phone, whether it be a picture, or audios, this is also another major problem that (OOTR) is looking at to see whether it is appropriate to be controlled or regulated or not."

Digicel, Managing Director, Farid Mohammed and Chief Technical Director, Leuo Alani Faiai who were given the opportunity to provide their perspective on whether it is suitable for contents in regards to OTT service providers can be controlled, the responses from both of Samoa's major internet  service providers was quite positive where each of the men expressed how important it is for OOTR to regulate contents because it is going to safeguard the public in how they are exposing themselves to the technological world.

Fa’asau assured that while there are more things to be done in regards to finalizing what the OOTR is trying to come to in regulating contents and ISP services around the country, law plays an important part in ensuring that the right information and legislations in place are guaranteed for the effectiveness of the ministry's target that will soon be initiated in the country.