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Digital Sound Broadcasting Regulations Drawn Up

April 28, 2021

Independent Communications Authority

Digital Sound Broadcasting (DSB) Services Regulations are in place.

The Independent Communications Authority (ICASA) published the Regulations in Government Gazette 44469 in terms of the Electronic Communications Act.

The Regulations were published for comment in November 2020.

They follow an Inquiry into the use of DSB in South Africa.

DSB is defined as an “audio broadcasting technology intended to deliver superior quality sound using digital communications technology. It is a digital signal delivery system capable of delivering sound and data”.

The Regulations set out the framework for the introduction of DSB services and prescribe the process for an applicant seeking to provide DSB services.

The Regulations will apply to sound broadcasting licensees seeking to provide digital sound broadcasting services.

They focus on the framework for DSB services; multi-channel distributor for DSB services; standards applicable to DSB services; DSB MUX allocation; licensing of DSB services and channel authorization.

According to the Regulations, DSB services will be introduced in a phased approach with phase 1 focused on primary markets and phase 2 in secondary markets.

The Regulations also stipulate that a sound broadcasting service licensee may, as set out in Annexure A, apply to ICASA for a channel authorisation to add a new DSB service to an existing DSB service.

The Regulations came into effect on the date of publication.

Meanwhile, in Gazette 44487, ICASA announced that, after considering the applications for the transfer of Rayv Product Development (Pty) Ltd’s IECS and IECNS licences to Mobile Outsourcing Solutions Group (Pty) Ltd, the transfer applications were approved and the licences issued to Mobile Outsourcing Solutions Group (Pty) Ltd.

In Gazette 44488, ICASA called on stakeholders to comment on issues that should be taken into consideration during a proposed review of the ICT COVID-19 National Disaster Regulations.

Issues for consultation include temporary radio frequency spectrum licences; spectrum pooling arrangements; obligations relating to IMT Radio Frequency Spectrum licensees; type approval relaxation measures; complaints resolution; tariffs and fees; deployment of electronic communications facilities; zero-rating services; broadcasting performance period; programme syndication; quarterly submission of programming logs and recordings to ICASA; local content obligations and postal services.

According to the notice, given that South Africa is currently on Alert Level 1 with several economic activities allowed to resume and operate, it is deemed “prudent for the Authority to review the measures prescribed in terms of the Covid-19 Regulations”.

Comment is invited until 7 May 2021.