ICASA wants your opinions on TVWS and dynamic spectrum allocation in SA
The South African telecommunications regulator, ICASA, has put out a discussion document to the IT industry asking for feedback about dynamic spectrum allocation, better known as TV White Spaces (TVWS).
Dynamic spectrum allocation is the process whereby gaps in the regulated radio spectrum which aren’t being used are identified and opened up to wireless network operators to use for providing internet services. It’s most frequently cited as a mechanism for using bandwidth currently allocated to analogue TV broadcasts which aren’t carrying TV signals – hence TV White Spaces.
This discussion paper is limited exclusives to TVWS.
Industry is at loggerheads on this one. The GSMA and mobile operators aren’t keen because it gives new competitors a low cost way into the market (Microsoft is looking at commercialising its trial in Limpopo, for example) while proponents argue that it’s a fast and effective way of getting broadband services out to the masses who don’t live in big cities.
The discussion document points out that dynamic spectrum allocation is mandated as part of SA Connect, the national broadband policy, and that a regulatory framework needs to be established. It’s a weighty read at 52 pages, but worth it. It includes research gathered by CSIR and Google.
The full document is below, responses must be submitted to ICASA by 18th December.