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Tanzania: Amendments to the Regulations under the Electronic and Postal Communications Act

8 July 2022
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In 2010, the Parliament of United Republic of Tanzania enacted the Electronic and Postal Communications Act, 2010, Cap 306 of the Laws of Tanzania (EPOCA), which established the law relating to electronic communications in Tanzania.

Since then, a number of regulations have been promulgated (and then amended) under the EPOCA. For purposes of the proper regulation and monitoring of digital and broadcasting networks and services in Tanzania and to ensure proper regulation and monitoring of online services in Tanzania, the Minister of Information, Communication and Information Technology has amended the Electronic and Postal Communications (Digital and Other Broadcasting Networks and Services) Regulations, 2018 and the Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations, 2020.


Tanzania: The Electronic and Postal Communications (Digital and Other Broadcasting Networks and Services) (Amendment) Regulations, 2022

The Electronic and Postal Communications (Digital and Other Broadcasting Networks and Services) (Amendment) Regulations, 2022 (Amended Digital Networks Regulations) amends the Electronic and Postal Communications (Digital and Other Broadcasting Networks and Services) Regulations, 2018 published on 6 April 2018 (2018 Digital Networks Regulations) (both collectively referred to as the Digital Networks Regulations).

Amendment to scope of application

The Amended Digital Networks Regulations have extended the application of the Digital Networks Regulations to include hybrid broadcast broadband systems and have removed reference and applicability of the Digital Networks Regulations to broadband broadcasting networks.

Amendment to definitions

Regulation 3 of the Amended Digital Networks Regulations defines the following terms as:

  • Live programmes – a segment of radio or television content that is broadcast and received at the same time as aired through various media platforms, scheduled daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly without any significant delay;
  • Live events – an unscheduled segment of radio or television content on public or social occasions, broadcast and received in real time without any significant delay;
  • Channel aggregator – a person licensed to package content service channels into a specific basket of channels for distribution to consumers by subscription;
  • Hybrid network – a multiplatform network that distributes signals using a number of digital electronic media which can be used in part or in a combination of terrestrial, satellite, or in a combination of terrestrial, satellite and internet platforms; and
  • Support services – a service that consists of the provision of management services to enable consumers to subscribe to content services.

The Amended Digital Networks Regulations have further amended Regulation 3 of the 2018 Digital Networks Regulations by excluding certain definitions in respect to activities that will not be regulated.

Other amendments

The Amended Digital Networks Regulations now allow subscription channels to carry sponsored programmes and commercial advertisements for a period not exceeding five minutes per hour. Before these changes, subscription channels were not allowed to include commercial advertisements in their broadcasts.

Further amendments introduced by the Amended Digital Networks Regulations include the following:

  • Regulation 18 of the 2018 Digital Networks Regulations is amended to allow Free to Air Content Service Providers to transmit and distribute signals through licensed multiplex operators’ network and any other platforms for the transmission and distribution of signal through a commercial arrangement.
  • Regulation 23 of the 2018 Digital Networks Regulations is amended to allow the infrastructure for content services to be used for any other communication services subject to obtaining the prior approval of the Authority.
  • Regulation 29 of the 2018 Digital Networks Regulations is amended to allow subscription content service licensees to broadcast live events. However, they are prohibited from broadcasting news, current affairs and live programmes.
  • Regulation 30 of the 2018 Digital Networks Regulations is amended and provides that a channel aggregator shall not add or remove a content service channel without prior notification to the Authority.
  • Regulation 32 of the 2018 Digital Networks Regulations has been amended to introduce new provisions for the licensing of multiple locally-produced television channels.
  • The amendments have further simplified the process for the resolution of disputes in relation to service level agreements. Regulation 35 of the 2018 Digital Networks Regulations is amended to allow the parties to refer the matter in dispute to the Authority for resolution, where the period for negotiations has lapsed and there is a failure to reach agreement, or a dispute arises between parties under a service level agreement.

The Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) (Amendment) Regulations, 2022

The Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) (Amendment) Regulations, 2022 (Amended Online Content Regulations) amends the Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations, 2020 published on 17 July 2020 (2020 Online Content Regulations) (both collectively referred to as the Online Content Regulations).

Amendment to scope of application

The Amended Online Content Regulations limit the applicability of the Online Content Regulations to online content service providers, application services licensees, online content users and any other related online content, therefore removing reference and applicability of the Online Content Regulations to internet service providers.

Amendment to definitions

The Amended Online Content Regulations introduce the following new definitions to terms used in the Online Content Regulations:

  • Online media services – online content services provided for the purpose of news and current affairs in a manner similar to, or in a manner that resembles services providers licensed under the EPOCA; and
  • Online content aggregator – a content service provider who collects content from different sources and packs the content into baskets of channels for the purpose of being accessed by users for free or upon payment of a prescribed fee.

 The following definitions have been deleted and substituted with new definitions as follows:

  • Online content service – internet content broadcasting or aggregation to the public through television, radio, blog, weblog, instant messaging tools, social media and applications;
  • Mainstream media – radio or television programs aired by licensed content service providers using traditional broadcasting networks; and
  • Weblog – a website containing online media services offering a combination of text, still or moving images, audio or links to other online media websites.

The Amended Online Content Regulations have further amended Regulation 3 of the 2020 Online Content Regulations by excluding certain definitions.

Other amendments

  • The Amended Online Content Regulations has amended Regulation 4 (1) of the 2020 Online Content Regulations to require online media service providers to obtain a licence from the Authority and has removed reference to online content services.
  • Mainstream media licensees are now exempted from obtaining online media services licences for the simulcasting or re-publication of content through the internet.
  • For the purpose of obtaining an online media service licence, the Amended Online Content Regulations has amended Regulation 6 of the 2020 Online Content Regulations, which now prescribed the application form and fees in respect to a person who intends to provide online media services.
  • The obligation for licencees to establish a policy or guidelines on online content safe use and making the same available to online content users as provided under Regulation 9(c) has also been abolished.
  • The Amended Online Content Regulations have repealed Regulation 10 of the 2020 Online Content Regulations, therefore removing the prohibition on mainstream content service providers with district or regional licenses from simulcasting content using online platforms.
  • The Amended Online Content Regulations repeal Regulation 13, removing the onerous obligations that were placed on internet café operators.
  • The Amended Online Content Regulations amends and reduces the online media services licence fees provided under the Second Schedule of the 2020 Online Content Regulations.
  • The 2020 Online Content Regulations provide a detailed list of prohibited content as per the Third Schedule to the 2020 Online Content Regulations.