WOAN report good news for ICT in SA

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Telecommunications and Postal Services Minister, Dr Siyabonga Cwele, has welcomed the study conducted to determine the spectrum requirements for the Wireless Open Access Network (WOAN). 

The study, conducted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), confirmed that a portion of the radio frequency spectrum can be allocated to WOAN, with excess capacity going to the ICT industry. 

“The outcome of this process is crucial for the transformation of the ICT sector to remove entry barriers; encourage investments by black-owned, small and large companies, and restructure the market to lower the cost of infrastructure investment, thereby contributing to a reduction in the cost of communications. 

“Black-owned companies, SMMEs and the existing operators have a role to play in creating an enabling environment for the transition to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. 

“The conclusion of this process will allow government to plan forward and prepare to deal with further technological advances, including 5G,” Cwele said. 

The Minister is scheduled to engage the Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA), as required by the law, about the finalisation of a policy direction, which will enable the regulator to implement policy. 

The CSIR study will also form part of the policy direction and will be released to the public after consultation with the regulator. 

Meanwhile, Cabinet on Thursday announced that it has approved the Electronic Communications Amendment Bill for tabling in Parliament. 

This follows extensive consultations with the industry and the public. 

The bill, amongst others, provides for the following:

1. Introduction and licensing of the WOAN;

2. Measures to improve competition regulation and infrastructure sharing in the sector, and

3. Interventions to strengthen the rapid deployment policy and the approach to the regulation of regional and international roaming.

Cwele said the finalisation of the bill, after the Parliamentary process, will create clarity, predictability on the policy direction and the regulation of the sector. 

The bill is scheduled to be tabled in Parliament this week for consideration and processing. – SAnews.gov.za