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Independent Communications Authority of South Africa Press

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) is the official regulator of the South African communications, broadcasting and postal services sectors.

ICASA to issue Information Memorandum on the licensing process for high demand spectrum

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) will publish an Information Memorandum on the licensing process for the International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) spectrum – also referred to as high demand spectrum – before 31 December 2019.

The Information Memorandum outlines ICASA’s approach on the licensing of the spectrum, following the publication of the Policy on High Demand Spectrum and Policy Direction on the Licensing of a Wireless Open Access Network.

The Information Memorandum is also intended to provide guidance to stakeholders and prospective applicants on the process and criteria to be applied by ICASA in the licensing of the spectrum. “Through the publication of the Information Memorandum, the Authority further provides an opportunity to stakeholders and prospective applicants alike to make inputs and representations on the proposed licensing process, associated criteria and timelines”, says Keabetswe Modimoeng, ICASA acting chairperson.

“The licensing of high demand spectrum is one of the critical components to facilitate deployment of digital infrastructure to ensure that all South Africans realise and participate meaningfully in the opportunities emanating from the Fourth Industrial Revolution”, concludes Modimoeng.

ICASA is conducting public hearings regarding the Draft Sports Broadcasting Regulations

From 27 to 31 May 2019, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) will hold public hearings on the Draft Sports Broadcasting Services Amendment Regulations – published on 14 December 2018.

ICASA has received 39 written submissions, 28 of which have confirmed their availability for oral presentations before the Committee of Council. The public hearings will be held at African Pride Irene Country Club.

“The review of existing regulations is common within the regulatory environment, and this process is no exception. As developments happen and new information come to the fore, ICASA is required to relook into the relevance of its existing regulations, and where necessary, initiate a process for the review of such regulations,” the organisation said in a statement.

“ICASA has a clear mandate of regulating in the public interest. Therefore, the draft regulations seek to reiterate and ensure that South Africans have access to a wide range of national sporting events and further reflect and give exposure to minority and developmental sport,” says ICASA councillor, Palesa Kadi.

“Based on the high number of submissions in the history of ICASA, we view this as the epitome of public participation in regulation making. And it is really encouraging to see such interest in our regulatory processes because this helps us to make informed decisions that are indeed in the public interest,” concludes Kadi.                                                                                                                

ICASA appoints an acting chairperson

The council of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has appointed Dr Keabetswe Modimoeng as acting chairperson, effective 25 March 2019.

In accepting the acting appointment Modimoeng committed to ensuring that ICASA continues to execute its mandate independently and in the public interest: “We are governed by legislation and guided by the public interest mandate and for that we will continue to put the South African public first when taking decisions. We will continue to work closely with all key stakeholders (including government) to ensure that the Authority’s regulatory decisions advance transformation in the ICT sector, support economic growth and unlock opportunities presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the digital economy.”

Dr Modimoeng holds MBA and PhD (Management Sciences) degrees. He is a Harvard senior executive fellow and has completed an Executive Development Programme from Wharton University as well as the Africa Director Programme (Stellenbosch).

ICASA officially opens its new premises in Centurion

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) had a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its new head office premises – No. 350 Witch-Hazel Avenue, Eco-Point Office Park, Eco-Park, Centurion – on 12 February 2019 at 13h00.

The move that took place on 29 October 2018 was a mammoth task for ICASA but marked the beginning of a new chapter after 20 years of operations from 164 Katherine Street, Sandton.

“The opening of the head office in Centurion is another important milestone to ensure that we regulate in the public interest and continue the legacy of our leaders in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector; and will assist us in getting closer to our stakeholders,” says Keabetswe Modimoeng, ICASA councillor and chairperson of the Relocation Committee.

ICASA has named its new head office after the late Minister of Communications in the South African Government from June 1999 to April 2009, Dr. Ivy Matsepe Casaburri.

Dr. Matsepe-Casaburri has been widely honoured for her accomplishments, including a special award from the African ICT Achievers Programme for her dedication to the proliferation of the ICT industry in South Africa and across the continent, and her promotion of the use of technology by governments to improve service delivery to citizens. She was one of the most successful, visible, and accomplished women in Africa.

Modimoeng further stated that it is no coincidence that the ICASA head office is named after the struggle legend: “She was and still is known throughout Africa as a leader in the applications of information and communications technology for economic development, educational empowerment, and the advancement of the cause of democracy. Her family will be in attendance as we honour one of the prominent and progressive leaders South Africa has ever produced within political space.”

In the recent years, ICASA has been working on a number of processes to open offices in all the provinces, in an effort to bring services to the people of South Africa. ICASA can confidently say it has opened offices in eight provinces and is currently finalising the process of opening the ninth office.

ICASA reviews submission date on the Draft Conformity Assessment Framework for Equipment Authorisation

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has reviewed the submission date for written comments on the Draft Conformity Assessment Framework for Equipment Authorisation – published on 13 December 2018 for public comments.

The date for written comments has been moved from 30 January 2019 to 28 February 2019, following written requests filed with ICASA from some of the affected stakeholders.

“This is to ensure that the process becomes open and transparent; and allows for full participation by all interested stakeholders,” says ICASA councillor, Keabetswe Modimoeng.

Icasa to hold public hearings over commercial free-to-air licensing

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) will hold public hearings regarding the process to grant licence/s for the provision of individual commercial free-to-air television broadcasting services as well as the related radio frequency spectrum licence.

This follows the application process that led to ICASA receiving four submissions from Kwese Free TV, Tshwaranang Media, Infinity Media Networks and Free To Air TV.

The public hearings will be held from 22 to 23 November 2018 at Irene Country Lodge in Centurion.

“New technologies are deeply transforming the television broadcasting industry and consumers require content that is appealing to their needs,” says ICASA council’s Adv. Dimakatso Qocha.

Introducing more competition in the television broadcasting market is therefore necessary. “We believe that those who have made their submissions in this process will be able to differentiate themselves from others and present some sort of diversity and choice for consumers depending on the kind of programming content they intend to offer,” concludes Qocha.

Submission date and venue of applications for MUX3 radio frequency spectrum remain unchanged

On 26 July 2018, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) issued an invitation to apply for the radio frequency spectrum for the purposes of providing a commercial subscription broadcasting service.

The successful applicant will be assigned 45 per cent capacity of the third multiplex (MUX3) to provide the service.

Since ICASA Head Office is relocating to Centurion, Pretoria, we would like to inform all prospective applicants that the date for submission remains 31 October 2018 at Pinmill Farm, Block B, 164 Katherine Street Sandton. This means that the relocation will not affect the submission and reception of applications.

ICASA to hold public hearings regarding discussion document

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) will hold public hearings regarding a discussion document on digital sound broadcasting service in South Africa. The discussion document on Digital Sound Broadcasting Services was published on 29 March 2018 inviting interested stakeholders to submit their written comments. ICASA subsequently received 23 submissions.

The public hearings will be held from 11 to 13 July 2018 at ICASA Offices (Block C Presentation Room) in Sandton from 09h00 to 16h00.

As technology changes every day, it also changes the way people receive digital media and experience their favourite programmes both on radio and television as well as access to movies. “These changes in technology further encourage ICASA to have a forward-looking view of the space which we regulate. It is our view that with so many ever-expanding options, digital broadcasting will truly assist in closing the door on analogue broadcasting,” comments Adv. Dimakatso Qocha, ICASA councillor.



ICASA partners with Wireless World Research Forum to host the 5G Huddle in Durban

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) is supporting the Wireless World Research Forum (WWRF) in hosting the 5th Annual 5G Huddle to be held for the first time in the Southern hemisphere. The 5G Huddle will be held in Durban from 29 to 30 May 2018 at the Garden Court, Marine Parade.

The two-day conference will focus on the countdown to commercial rollout of 5G technologies and at what needs to be done from a policy and business perspective to meet the objective of delivering an all-inclusive 5G infrastructure. The focus will further be on 5G in both cities and rural areas and the difference that it can make in developing regions.

According to Nigel Jefferies, WWRF Chairperson, the demand for mobile communications is growing rapidly, and there is a lot of excitement about the development of standards, trials and testbeds for 5G mobile technology across the world. “It is therefore important for us, through events such as the 5G Huddle, to understand the real opportunities that current and future mobile technologies can offer in new markets and application areas, and ensure that emerging technologies are designed and implemented so as to meet the needs of people in every society,” says Jefferies.

The Fifth generation technologies offer various new advanced features which makes it most powerful and in huge demand in the future. 5G technology, among others, offer very high speed, high capacity, and low cost per bit, supports interactive multimedia, voice, video, internet, and other broadband services, more effective and more attractive; and lastly the uploading and downloading speed of 5G technology is very high.

In an effort to intensify its relations and a collaborative arrangement with government, institutions of higher learning, research institutions, industry players as well as any other formations with interest in the uptake of technological innovation, ICASA hosted the inaugural 5G Forum in November 2017.

ICASA’s interest in 5G technology stems from the belief that ultimately the South African public should have access to this technology, which is all embracing and would offer much more scope, in a manner that would enable automation of device and machine use, through the concept of the Internet of Things (IoT).

ICASA councillor Paris Mashile says that the development of the mobile and wireless networks is going towards higher data rates and all-Internet Protocol (IP) principle. Each year, mobile terminals are obtaining more processing power, more memory on board, and longer battery life for the same applications.

“It is our public service mandate, as a country and regulator, to ensure that we are not left behind as the world is moving forward and embracing new technologies that will benefit consumers, business and government, hence our involvement and participation in these debates and discussions as we look forward to the first commercial deployment of 5G in 2020,” concludes Mashile.

ICASA publishes document on digital sound broadcasting services

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has published a discussion document on Digital Sound Broadcasting Services. The publication gives notice of ICASA’s intention to conduct an inquiry into the prospects of implementing a digital sound broadcasting service in South Africa.

Digital Broadcasting Service is an audio broadcasting technology aimed at providing superior quality sound broadcasting service using digital communication technology.

It differs from traditional analogue broadcasting service in that, digital signals can be transmitted successfully at lower transmitter power. Digital radio is also easy to use or tune in than analogue radio in the form of Amplified Modulation (AM) and Frequency Modulation (FM). Data capabilities of digital radio can be used directly or modified for other related broadcasting activities such as Internet Radio.

“The licensing of different forms of broadcasting services require a lot of spectrum, which is a scarce resource and ICASA continues to receive enquiries from the public about licensing processes therefore encouraging and assisting Council to make decisions to offer more services to provide for competition in the broadcasting sector,” says councillor Dimakatso Qocha. If and when implemented, digital broadcasting services can improve spectrum efficiency and spectrum management; and offer choice for consumers or South African audiences.

Interested parties are invited to make written representations on the published Discussion Document on Digital Sound Broadcasting Services within forty-five (45) working days from the publication of the Notice in the Government Gazette.

A copy of the Discussion Document is available at ICASA’s Head Office library, 164 Katherine Street, Sandton; as well as at all Regional Offices. The document is also available here.

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