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Independent Communications Authority of South Africa Press

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

Icasa has published second draft of End-User and Subscriber Service Charter

On 7 August 2017 the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa)
published the first draft of the End-User and Subscriber Service Charter Regulations
for interested stakeholders to make their comments and inputs on specific sections of
the Regulations. It received 20 submissions. Upon consideration of the submissions
received from stakeholders, Icasa decided to publish a second draft of Regulations for
further stakeholder consultation.

“The review of the Regulations was necessitated by general concerns raised by
various stakeholders, including consumer groups and social media campaigns, with
regards to data expiry rules, high out-of-bundle rates and rules and also out-of-
bundle voice and SMS rules currently applied by licensees,’ says Icasa councillor
Botlenyana Mokhele.

These concerns range from consumer complaints about the unfairness arising from
the premature expiry of data bundles and/or forfeiture of unused data if it is not used
within a particular period.

Key interventions

The key interventions in terms of the draft regulation published are the following:

•Expiry of data – all licensees are required to provide prepaid data bundles with
minimum expiry period of 3 years, save where such prepaid data bundles have been
exhausted prior to the expiry of 3 years.
•Out of bundle billing – licensees are required to send usage notifications for data
depletion to end-users, and the intervals must show 50 per cent, 75 per cent, 90 per
cent and 100 per cent service depletion. The notification must be through an SMS,
push notification or any other applicable means.
•Rollover of unused minutes and/or data – where a network provider is required to
provide an option to post-paid users to roll over unused monthly data allocation to the
next billing period or to transfer the monthly data allocation or a portion thereof to
another end-user on the same network.
•End-users must be given an option to opt-in or opt-out of being charged out of
bundle data rates to avoid bill shock.

All interested stakeholders have until 3 January 2018 to submit their written
comments or representations to Icasa for consideration. Icasa will then hold public
hearings on the matter from 7 to 9 February 2018 and it is anticipated that the final
Regulations will be promulgated by 31 March 2018.

“We would like to encourage all interested parties to comment on the draft
Regulations and to actively part take in the ensuing public participation processes,’
concludes Mokhele.

Source: Bizcommunity.co
m

ICASA mutually separates with CEO

The council of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has notified all stakeholders and the media of its mutual separation with the chief executive officer (CEO) Pakamile Pongwana.

Chief operations officer, Willington Ngwepe, will continue serving as the acting CEO until a permanent CEO is employed.

ICASA initiates community broadcasting sector review process

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) is initiating a process to review the framework governing the community broadcasting sector. This review is aimed at addressing shortcomings in the regulatory and operational environment of the community broadcasting sector.

The expected outcomes of the review include, streamlined community broadcasting related regulations, a review of the community broadcasting licensing framework, as well as operational guidelines for the community broadcasting sector. The review will also identify policy and/or legislative challenges and make recommendations to the Minister of Communications in this regard.

The review process started with the publication of a Discussion Document on the Review of the Community Broadcasting Regulatory Framework on 3 March 2017. This document is intended to solicit written representations from interested parties and stakeholders, with submissions due on 10 May 2017.

Subsequently, a series of public consultations including public hearings as well as provincial workshops will be held, and such would culminate into the final regulatory framework for the community broadcasting sector.

For more information email communityreview2017@icasa.org.za.

ICASA extends submissions for RFSAP

On 25 November 2014, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) released a statement informing all stakeholders and the media that following a number of requests from operators, it has decided to extend the closing date for submissions on the published Draft Radio Frequency Spectrum Assignment Plan (RFSAP) to 28 January 2015.

The Draft RFSAP which was published on 14 November 2014 seeks to specify the technical conditions on the use of the frequency bands and is aimed at soliciting views from stakeholders on the Rules for Services operating in each frequency band. The Authority had initially provided for 14 days within which comments can be submitted but has subsequently allowed for an extension at the request of stakeholders.

All interested stakeholders are requested to refer their enquiries via email to Mr Richard Makgotlho on rmakgotlho@icasa.org.za.

SA Government and ICASA work towards widespread broadband access

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) released a
Draft International Mobile Telephony (IMT) Roadmap on 1 September, outlining
ways in which “universal availability of broadband services’ could be reached in
the country. This aligns with the objectives of “broadband for all’ which is a
target of SA Connect, the National Broadband Policy drawn up by previous
communications minister Yunis Carrim.

ICASA maintains that “the growing demand for mobile broadband in South Africa
indicates a need for more mobile broadband bandwidth capacity in general. It is
generally known that many rural areas do not have access to mobile bandwidth
indicating a need for a more universal mobile broadband coverage, a need best
served by deploying lower frequencies that propagate a wider market.’

The roadmap involves moving a number of current licensees out of (or within)
bands identified for IMT services.

Speaking at the annual Southern Africa Telecommunications Networks and
Applications Conference (SATNAC) in Port Elizabeth on 1 September, minister of
telecommunications and postal services Siyabonga Cwele stated that the need
for all-inclusive broadband was great but that “strategic infrastructure and
economic and social benefits require critical mass,’ according to a report on
htxt.africa.

Cwele outlined the benefits of increased broadband availability which include job
creation, social inclusivity and more involved and active citizenship, and said that
government would make strong efforts to coordinate the formation of new
broadband networks to guarantee universal access by 2020. In the meantime
Cwele stated that equipping a sizable number of schools and government
outfits with connectivity through public-private partnerships by 2016 was still an
important goal for his department.

He added that a full white paper on the integrated ICT policy was scheduled for
the end of March 2015.

Visit the ICASA
website
to view the Draft International Mobile Telephony (IMT) Roadmap

ICASA releases new DTT regulations

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has released
the Promotion of Diversity and Competition on Digital Terrestrial Television
Regulations – a set of rules which will allow the regulator to license new free-to-
air and paid-for television services on the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT)
spectrum.

Originally only two multiplexes were to feature on the spectrum allocation for
DTT. 85% of multiplex one was allocated to the South African Broadcasting
Corporation (SABC), which would allow them to broadcast 17 channels. The
remaining 15% was allocated to existing community television channels. Of the
second multiplex, 55% was allocated to e.tv with a possible 11 channels, and
45% to M-Net with a possible nine channels. Creating a third DTT multiplex to
cater for new players in the broadcast field was a possibility that has now
materialised.

In addition, according to a notice issued by ICASA published on the Government
Gazette, after 36 months any unused community television capacity on multiplex
one will be re-allocated: “Any capacity on Multiplex one that is assigned in terms
of the Digital Migration Regulations to terrestrial television broadcasting service
licensees that provide community broadcasting services that is not required for
the digital broadcasting of those licensees’ channels, shall be assigned by the
Authority in terms of these Regulations to television broadcasting service
licensees that provide community broadcasting services.’

The notice states that capacity on multiplex three shall be allocated as follows:
“Up to forty-five per cent (45%) of the available capacity on Multiplex three shall
be assigned to one or more commercial subscription television broadcasting
service licensees pursuant to one or more invitations to apply for a radio
frequency spectrum licence issued in terms of regulation seven of the Radio
Frequency Spectrum Regulations.

“Up to fifty-five per cent (55%) of the available capacity on Multiplex three shall
be assigned to one or more commercial free-to-air television broadcasting
service licensees pursuant to one or more invitations to apply for a radio
frequency spectrum licence issued in terms of regulation seven of the Radio
Frequency Spectrum Regulations.’

The notice also outlines a number of regulations pertaining to licensees, stating
that those on multiplex one and three will need prior written authorisation for a
channel from ICASA. It also states that broadcasters assigned capacity on
multiplex one and three must ensure that an Electronic Programme Guide and
“information in relation to the nature and content of programming, are made
available to end-users in relation to the programming broadcast on a particular
digital channel.’

ICASA has stated that should licensees or broadcasters fail to comply with the
regulations, it may issue fines to them.

View the full notice featured on the Government
Gazette website

ICASA invites discussion on SA TV and radio content regulations

Changing technologies and developments in the broadcasting sphere, brought
about by the imminent migration to digital broadcasting, have led to the
Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) undertaking a
review of the South African local content regulations for television and radio. In
light of this, the authority has published a public discussion document and
encourages interested stakeholders to make comments by no later than 16h00
on 10 September 2014.

The discussion document is an inquiry in terms of section 4B of the ICASA Act
into the review of South African Local Content on television and radio
regulations.

Prior to developing a discussion document ICASA appointed a consulting
company to conduct a thorough analysis and assessment of the cultural,
economic and social benefits brought about by the preservation of South African
programming regulations; and to perform a sound cost-benefit analysis. A copy
of the consulting company report is available at the ICASA library.

It is the ICASA’s view that through South African music and television
programming, radio and television can make a vital contribution to democracy,
nation building and development in South Africa; and that the local content
quotas will go a long way in protecting and developing the country’s national
cultures and identities, and promoting local industries.

ICASA grants five new individual subscription broadcasting licences

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has
announced that it has conditionally granted five licences for individual
commercial subscription broadcasting services. Although the conditions imposed
are specific to each of the five applicants, they generally relate to, amongst
others, confirmation of equity ownership, funding requirements, further
research, confirmation of local content and programming content agreements.

On 2 February 2012, ICASA published an Invitation to Apply (ITA), for individual
commercial subscription broadcasting service licences. The ITA was issued in
terms of the law governing the licensing of broadcasting services i.e. Electronic
Communications Act, 2005 (the Act).

By the closing date of the ITA, the Authority had received five applications in
response to the ITA and conducted public hearings from 24 to 26 July 2013 at
ICASA’s offices in Sandton.

The licences have been granted to:

• Close-T Broadcast Network Holdings (Pty) Ltd;
• Mindset Media Enterprises (Pty) Ltd;
• Mobile TV (Pty) Ltd;
• Kagiso TV (Pty) Ltd; and
• Siyaya Free To Air (Pty) Ltd.

These applicants have been given a period of three months to comply with the
conditions, ICASA says.

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