Hong Kong sets up Telecommunications Appeal Board

Hong Kong sets up Telecommunications Appeal Board

A woman checks her mobile phone while riding a tram through Central in Hong Kong on October 3, 2020. JAYNE RUSSELL AFP HONG KONG - The Telecommunications Appeal Board will be formally set up on Friday, replacing the Telecommunications Competition Provisions Appeal Board, in a bid to improve the appeal mechanism under the Telecommunications Ordinance.

The change came as the Telecommunications Amendment Ordinance 2021 took effect, altering the provisions of the Telecommunications Ordinance to cater for the application and development of 5 G and Internet of Things services in Hong Kong.

Under the amended ordinance, the Telecommunications Appeal Board's functions and powers will be expanded so that it can handle appeals in addition to those relating to exploitative conducts engaged by a licensee. Licensees can appeal to the appeal board if they are aggrieved by certain regulatory decisions of the authorities.

The Communications Authority's powers and duties are regulated by the amended ordinance, requiring the protection of the underground telecommunications infrastructure, and simplifying the licensing framework to allow the introduction of innovative services by the industry.

The proposed legislative amendments to implement the above four measures were passed in the October of last year by the Legislative Council.

With the integrity of telecommunications infrastructure and the stability of telecommunications services getting more important, the government has tried to criminalize offences against people who do not take reasonable steps and measures to protect or prevent damage to an underground telecommunications line when carrying out underground work near the line, drawing reference to existing statutory safeguards for other public utilities.

A set of guidelines drawn up by the Communications Authority to provide clear guiding principles and set out work safety measures for the sector takes effect on Friday.