Q&A – 21 July 2014

Hopeless internet service provider

I am subscribed to a very inefficient and unreliable internet service provider. The internet is not working most of the time, and when it is working, it is slow. The ISP gives a thousand reasons for this and sweet talks me all the time out of taking any action. Who monitors the ISPs and why is such a body not taking action?
YU, Mwanza

The Tanzania Communications and Regulatory Authority (TCRA) is the statutory body that oversees ISPs in Tanzania.
Apart from the option you have of terminating the ISP agreement and seeking for damages, there is a specific regulation called the Electronic and Postal Communications (quality of service) Regulations 2011 which addresses quality of ISP services, which entitles you to report this to the TCRA for action. You cannot blame TCRA if this has not been reported to it.
Regulation 11 provides that the licensee providing internet services shall be required to meet targets on quality of service parameters as specified in the Fourth Schedule to these Regulations.

The fourth schedule states that the ratio of successful log-ins to access the Internet when both the access network and the ISP network are available in full working order for dial-up users must be able to connect at least 90% of the time; and for leased line users must be able to connect at least 99% of the time.

Furthermore the fourth schedule states that the data transmission rate that is achieved separately for downloading and uploading specified test files between a remote web site and a user’s computer should be at least 80% of that advertised by the service provider.

The scary part for the ISP provider is regulation 15 which states that any person who contravenes any provision of these Regulations commits an offence and shall on conviction be liable, to a fine not less than five million shillings or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three months or to both. We recommend that you take this up
with TCRA who should be able to assist fix the problem via the ISP. You will have noticed that the regulations are very strict and provide for imprisonment of the ISP contravenes the regulations.

Lynching of a thief

We caught a thief on my street and it was decided to burn him as a lesson to other thieves. We were about 60 in total; others brought gasoline and tyres and I was asked me for my cigarette lighter. The thief was then burned and died right there. Days later I was arrested for murder by the police together with a large group of persons who were present there. I am informed one person recorded the whole event in his mobile phone so the police could easily see all of us present there. I never lit the thief and merely gave the cigarette lighter to another person who lit it. Also the reason why I had the lighter in the first place is because I am a smoker and not that I carried it particularly to kill the thief. I don’t think the act of giving the cigarette lighter is an offence. I am wrongly accused of murder. Is this fair?
WO, Dar

First we strongly condemn the act of lynching thieves because there are legal procedures which can be taken to ensure that justice is done instead of murdering a person in cold blood.

Coming to your question, we refer you to the Penal Code which states that, a person is deemed to have caused the death of another person although his act is not the immediate or sole cause of death if his act or omission would not have caused death unless it had been accompanied by an act or omission of the person killed or of other person.

The act of handing over a cigarette lighter in itself is not an offence; however depending on more facts that you can disclose to your lawyers, you might have facilitated the commission of murder because you were fully aware of the circumstances the cigarette lighter was going to be used for, yet you handed over the cigarette lighter. The police are likely acting within the law by arresting and charging you. We strongly advise you to consult your attorney for further guidance.

Mobile company mass smses

My mobile company sends me mass smses that are not beneficial to me. These messages waste my time and discharge my battery. How can I stop this?
OG, Dar

These unsolicited mass smses or even phone calls are illegal under our laws. Regulation 7 of the Electronic and Postal Communications (Consumer Protection) Regulations states that in issuing any advertisements which promote the availability of services, a licensee shall provide information on any geographical or technical limitations on the availability of the service to consumers. (2) A licensee shall ensure that promotions- (a) does not contravene quality of service obligations; (b) does not have anticompetitive effects; (c) may cover a period of up to three months; (d) may be extended for a maximum of two months subject to approval by the Authority and upon satisfaction that there was compliance to quality of service requirements.
(3) When promoting product or service, a licensee shall indicate clearly the total charge for the package and terms and conditions that are applicable. (4) A licensee shall not engage in unsolicited telemarketing, sms-marketing and any other electronic methods unless – (a) customer consents to the service; (b) at the beginning of the communication, it discloses the identity of the licensee or other person on whose behalf it is made and the precise purpose of the communication;
(c) the communication gives out the breakdown of the total cost of any product or service that is the subject of the communication.

From the above, you can see that mass smses without your consent are illegal and you should proceed report this to the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority who will take appropriate action which includes imprisonment.