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Licensing Process for High Demand Spectrum Highlighted

October 9, 2019

Department of Communications and Digital Technologies

9 October 2019

The licensing process for high demand broadband spectrum is likely to involve an auction.

The minister of communications and digital technologies, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, announced this during a speech at the FTTX Conference in Johannesburg.

The minister added that the licensing of the Wholesale Open Access Network (WOAN) will “involve a beauty contest through submission of business, financial and technical plans”.

The Policy Direction on High Demand Spectrum was released at the end of July 2019.

According to the minister, the policy direction was released to enable the industry to respond to the needs of the 4IR, particularly the deployment of robust infrastructure and address the issue of network capacity congestion.”

The minister also referred to an Information Memorandum currently under development by the Independent Communications Authority (ICASA).

The Information Memorandum is intended to outline processes and procedures for the licensing of spectrum.

ICASA plans to issue the Information Memorandum for public comments by the end of December 2019.

As regards SA Connect, the minister indicated that, due to budget constraints, the scope for Phase One has been adjusted to now connect 970 government facilities.

“As at the end of September 2019, 551 of the 970 government facilities have been connected; and these are mainly schools and health facilities.”

The minister pointed out that work on the remaining facilities will be completed by the end of the 2019/20 financial year.