ICASA to co-host Global Summit on Dynamic Spectrum Allocation in Cape Town next year


News just in: the South African telecoms regulator, ICASA, has been signed up as a co-host for the 2017 Global Summit on dynamic spectrum allocation (DSA). The annual conference is scheduled to take place in Cape Town on 9-11 May next year, and is organised by the Dynamic Spectrum Association.

Why is this interesting news? Because ICASA held a public consultation on the subject of DSA earlier this year and reported back in generally, but not overwhelmingly, in favour of the technology. Its official findings paper concluded that there was support for DSA within the communications industry, including from the current telcos, but that there could be legal challenges from those who don’t think ICASA has the authority to regulate the tech.

In addition, the new integrated ICT policy unveiled by the Department for Telecommunications and Postal Services could create issues as it calls for the complete reworking of the way spectrum is licensed here. While it is broadly supportive of DSA – allowing it so long as ICASA is in control – there’s likely to be legal battles ahead over its “reconceptualised spectrum policy” and proposal to introduce a “Wireless Open Access” network. These could well impede progress towards DSA, as they’ll have to be settled first.

DSA is mostly known by its incarnation as TV White Spaces in this country.

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As chance would have it, I’m just finishing off a big piece of a very interesting and very South African innovation in the field of DSA – so I won’t add too much here other than to quote a couple of paragraphs from the press release below.

Several of the new members are focused on opening up more spectrum sharing opportunities across the globe and this will be a key theme in the 2017 Global Summit in South Africa. In the continent of Africa, new member Ekovolt, a wireless broadband and technology services provider, is working to provide affordable, accessible, reliable broadband and technology solutions that cater to homes and businesses in Nigeria. Furthermore, C3 Limited is currently building a wireless network across Malawi spanning all 28 districts and Project Isizwe aims to bring the Internet to people across South Africa by facilitating the rollout of free Wi-Fi for public spaces in low-income communities.

“In 2013, the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance was chartered to work with policy makers and regulators around the world on laws and regulations designed to promote and reward more efficient spectrum utilization,” said Paul Garnett, the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance’s Chairman of the Board and Director of Affordable Access at Microsoft. “The spectrum sharing technologies and policies that the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance began promoting almost four years ago are now central to discussions about current and future spectrum access and emerging 5G scenarios. The Dynamic Spectrum Alliance‘s annual Summit is the premier event for policy makers and regulators to share best practices, learn about the latest spectrum sharing policies, and participate in discussions on how to maximize social and economic impact. To that end, the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance is delighted to be partnering with ICASA to host the 2017 Global Summit in Cape Town, South Africa. We look forward to welcoming policy makers, regulators, academia, public and private sector representatives, and other guests in Cape Town next May.”

[Image via Wikipedia]

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