An aptitude for adventureBernard Agius
To keep our economy nimble and performing well, we should be brave and support start-ups, Bernard Agius says. “Diversity of mindsets and talents can only serve to enrich the community’s effectiveness”
The Malta Communications Authority was set up to regulate communications services, which include, fixed and mobile telephony, Internet and TV distribution services. It also regulates the postal sector and eCommerce services and Malta’s radio spectrum resources. This year, the Authority’s mandate has been further extended to include responsibility for developing Malta’s ICT potential through innovation. We also implement initiatives aimed at ensuring that every business and individual has the competences to beneficially use ICT and engage in online activities. On the consumer front, we implement programmes to ensure that consumers are well informed about their rights and about the various offers available to them. The MCA was established on the 1st January 2001 and is the statutory body responsible for the regulation of the various electronic communications sectors, which include fixed and mobile telephony, Internet and TV distribution services. Furthermore, the Authority regulates two other sectors which are the postal services, as well as the eCommerce sector. It is widely acknowledged that access to essential services and information, maintaining and enhancing social support networks and opportunities for meaningful social and civic engagement are increasingly compromised by a lack of digital literacy. Hence a number of digital inclusion initiatives have been undertaken by the Authority, which are aimed at ensuring that every business and individual has the skills and competences to fully engage in online activities, a must in today’s ICT enabled global village. The Authority’s mandate has been recently extended to exploring new economic opportunities for Malta, broadly related to its portfolio. The MCA’s mission statement is stated in two pillars:
Our objective is to ensure the provision of products and services, based on the latest innovative technologies, at the right price and of the highest quality to consumers. On the business side, we aim to ensure an environment that is conducive to sustainable competition and investment, through a forward looking regulatory framework that adequately caters for the growing demands of the future.
On this note, the MCA aims to promote and facilitate innovation and business development with a view to strengthen competition in a growing communications sector. This is done by supporting home-grown innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as internationally promoting Malta and its technology readiness in order to attract to our shores more businesses that actively contribute to the development of the communications industry in some way or another.
The MCA enables competition in the communications sector by facilitating market entry through a light-touch authorisation framework for the provision of networks and services, and by regulating access to networks so as to develop effective choice for end-users - both business and residential. In a sector that evolves rapidly, both in technological and commercial terms, the MCA provides the framework for the introduction of new services.
The focus of regulation for the postal service is that postal undertakings provide a transparent, value-for-money service to users, whilst adhering to incumbent social obligations. Particular attention is paid on ensuring the maintenance of the Universal Service Obligation (USO) and in ensuring that MaltaPost's prices are geared to cost.
With regard to eCommerce, our focus lies in supporting the take up of eCommerce and the provision of eCommerce-related services by local businesses. Our efforts now lie in implementing the various initiatives outlined in the national eCommerce Strategy 2014-2020.
The MCA's mission, mandate and functions derive from the Malta Communications Authority Act (Cap 418). The MCA also implements the following Acts:
The Chairman is responsible for, and has the overall direction of the MCA. The Authority's executive structure is based on cross-functional teams operating in a multi-disciplinary environment.