Hong Kong (SAR)- Public Consultation Process [7.2]

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The Office of Telecommunications Authority (OFTA) in Hong Kong (SAR) has received recognition as the “Best Asian Regulator by the readers of Telecom Asia magazine” five times since 1998.[1] The public consultation process in Hong Kong (SAR) is very straightforward.[2]

Step 1: When an issue is identified, OFTA issues a consultation paper to solicit views from the industry and the general public. In order to seek the views of interested stakeholders, OFTA maintains close communications with various advisory committees, and forms ad hoc work groups and other committees from time to time to discuss specific issues. Some advisory committees, such as the Radio Spectrum Advisory Committee, the Telecommunications Numbering Advisory Committee, the Telecommunications Standards Advisory Committee and the Telecommunications Users and Consumers Advisory Committee have been established since 1994.

  • There is generally no separate public notice requirement apart from the press release/consultation paper on OFTA's website.
  • Exceptions:
    • In some cases, if OFTA feels that there are parties who are particularly interested in a proceeding, OFTA provides them directly with written notice of the published consultation paper.
    • With regard to class licenses, there is a statutory requirement to publish a notice in the Government Gazette on the consultation.

Step 2: Any interested party may submit comments by the deadline specified on the consultation document.

Step 3: Comments are published on OFTA's website with disclosure of the identity of the source of the comments, unless the commenting party requests confidential treatment of information.

Step 4: OFTA issues its final decision.

Case Example:

On October 4, 2004 OFTA published a consultation document entitled the “Regulation of Internet Protocol (IP) Telephony” to solicit the views and comments of the industry and interested parties on significant issues related to IP telephony, such as policy and licensing, numbering resources, interconnection and charge settlement, and consumer issues. OFTA received 38 comments by the end of the consultation period on December 2004. All of the comments, as well as OFTA's final decision of June 20, 2005 were posted on OFTA's website.

ENDNOTES

[1] See the press release available at http://www.ofta.gov.hk/en/press_rel/2003/june_2003.html#1 .

[2] Irene Wu and Cathleen Xue, Decision-making procedures ethics rules: The practical enablers of integrity and impartiality in telecommunications regulation , Part II, August 15, 2002 .

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