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The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA / the Authority) has resolved to grant the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and all other television as well as radio services an exemption from complying with the specific programming licence conditions and local content quotas.

Television broadcasting service Licensees are exempted from compliance with the local television content quotas and specific advertising and programming requirements in terms of licence conditions during the National State of Disaster.

However, the exemption, which is valid for a period not exceeding 3 months after termination of the National State of Disaster, does not exempt television and radio services from complying with local music content quotas as provided for in the South African Music Content Regulations of 2016.

 

In coming to its decision, the Authority considered the following matters:

1. Licensees are enjoined by the Minister’s Directions and the Authority’s ICT COVID-19 Regulations to prioritise specific COVID-19 related and educational programming.

2. Television production houses have also been impacted by the lockdown which means that very little, if any local content has been produced in the last few weeks of the lockdown.

3. The Authority further considered that production houses may need some time to put in place the social distancing and safety requirements as set out in the National Disaster Regulations as published by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

 

It is for this reason that the Authority took a view that the exemption would give broadcasters the flexibility required to attend to COVID-19 programming requirements as well as time to acquire local content when the lockdown restrictions are lifted.

 

It is important to note that the exemption does not mean that Licensees and/or the SABC is given permission to broadcast international content only or will not broadcast programming that falls within the specified genres. It also does not mean that broadcasters will not acquire content that is developed from local production houses.

 

It is of critical importance to further note that the purpose of monitoring compliance of licensees is centred around the public interest principles and in doing so ensures that local cultures and languages are preserved through various means including music.

“This exemption, therefore means that during the compliance monitoring period, broadcasters will not be penalised for not meeting the minimum quotas as specified in the regulations and licence conditions”, concludes ICASA Acting Chairperson, Dr Keabetswe Modimoeng.

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The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA/the Authority) has received about 35 applications in response to the call made through the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) COVID-19 National Disaster Regulations issued on Monday, 06 April 2020.

 

ICASA has made available the International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) spectrum bands in the 700MHz, 800MHz, 2300MHz, 2600MHz and 3500MHz bands for temporary assignment for the entire period of the National State Disaster.

The Authority would like to inform all stakeholders that it is currently applying its mind and analysing all applications to ensure compliance with the criteria and conditions stipulated in Annexure A of the Regulations. The Authority hereby reiterates that it intends to take the necessary care and ensure that the release of the spectrum for use on an emergency basis is fair and non-discriminatory. ICASA will communicate and announce its decisions with regards to this process in the next week.

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The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) today presented its submission at the public hearings on the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa’s (ICASA) draft sports broadcasting regulations 2018.

 

The SABC’s submission is aimed at influencing, promoting and supporting a conducive and enabling regulatory framework for sports rights regulations in the country. The key issues which are pertinent to the organisation as a public service broadcaster and presented at the hearing include:

 

 

  • The unbundling of sports rights;

  • Exclusivity for the category of rights and platform as per the licensed service;

  • Consideration of capacity by the SABC for sports content in a digital multichannel/multiplatform environment;

  • Accessibility of sports rights by Free-To-Air (FTA) broadcasters for the benefit of all South African irrespective of their economic status;

  • A fair and transparent sub-licencing framework;

  • The review of Must Carry regulations;

  • Fair competition in the broadcasting sector; and

  • Exclusive funding for Sports Content.

 

 

From a cost perspective, sports rights are one of the biggest cost drivers for the SABC and a core genre in television broadcasting which requires regulatory intervention. The position of the SABC is that the new sports regulations should assist the South African public, particularly the poor to access prime sport in the country through FTA television broadcasting.

 

The public broadcaster is also of the view that the regulations should also consider all competition issues raised by the SABC in the inquiry on competition within the subscription television market such as “Must Carry”.

 

The SABC looks forward to a holistic regulations framework on sports rights from ICASA,

once this process is concluded.

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The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has finalised the process for developing a Findings Document and Position Paper on Digital Sound Broadcasting (DSB), following an inquiry into the use of DSB in South Africa.

 

In coming with the findings and positions, ICASA relied on extensive submissions from interested stakeholders, desktop research conducted on the proposed Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB+) and Digital Radio Mondial (DRM), digital sound broadcasting trials conducted by broadcasting service licensees as well as international study visits to Australia, Germany, Norway, USA and United Kingdom.

 

 

Having embarked on international study visits and research, ICASA found that there is clear evidence that DSB technologies are beneficial for South Africa and have proven to be successful in countries visited, such as Norway and Australia. ICASA further notes that even though analogue medium wave (AM) frequencies are ample, the sound quality is generally poor, with higher transmission costs.

 

 

ICASA notes that even though FM still offers good quality sound, spectrum scarcity and high transmission costs necessitate consideration for digital  sound broadcasting services. Therefore, DSB is necessary to keep up with technological developments and to encourage spectrum efficiency.

 

 

In keeping with international trends, and national imperatives, the findings further note that it will not be necessary for a total analogue switch-off, as analogue transmission can co-exist with digital services until such time that there is enough up-take of receivers and there is a policy pronouncement on analogue switch- off.

 

“The written and oral submissions received did not advocate for a total switch-off, but rather suggested that a moratorium be imposed to allow incumbent licensees to establish themselves and the market for DSB; and only then would new players be licenced ,” says ICASA Councillor, Adv. Dimakatso Qocha.

 

The Authority’s position on the frequency network is that it will deploy a hybrid model (SFN and MFN) as this model caters for all three tiers of broadcasting categories. Furthermore, the commercial and public sound broadcasting services can be operated by one MUX operator on SFN, while  different MUX operators  could be considered for community broadcasting services on MFN basis.

 

Based on the findings and position, ICASA will develop the draft regulations on DSB in the current financial year (2019/20).

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The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (“ICASA”) has published the Community Broadcasting Regulations following country-wide consultation and engagement with all relevant stakeholders. The regulations prescribe, among others, the management and governance structures of community broadcasting services as well as basic principles for community participation.

 

Community broadcasting services constitute a critical avenue through which communities express their history, heritage, languages, culture and experiences. They should be community owned platforms where views and interests are expressed and shared among the constituents.

 

 

“ICASA is satisfied that the new regulations will promote sustainability within the community broadcasting sector” says ICASA Councillor, Botlenyana Mokhele.

 

 

The regulations, among others, provides that an applicant must be registered as a non-profit entity at least two (2) years prior to lodging an application to register as a community broadcasting service licensee; and also demonstrate community development and empowerment with respect to the community located within the coverage area it would like to render community broadcasting services.

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State of ICT report published by ICASA

Posted by radio On April - 3 - 2019 ADD COMMENTS

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has published the State of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) report that represents the development and performance of the sector focusing on telecommunications, broadcasting and postal services.

The report breaks down mobile network population coverage in terms of geographical type (urban or rural) at provincial levels.  It records that national population coverage for 3G remained stable at 99.5% and for 4G/LTE it increased from 76.7% (2017) to 85.7% (2018).

 

The ICT sector remains one of the biggest employers and contributors to the mainstream economy. The total overall employment numbers for the three sectors increased by 18.8%, from 51,993 in 2017 to 61,757 in 2018. Over the same period, employment changes in the telecommunications sector increased by 20%, postal sector employment also showed a double-digit increase of 21.9% and broadcasting sector employment increased marginally by 0.3%.

 

While the ICT sector continues to demonstrate dynamic growth, particularly as driven by the mobile services sector, the growth has not necessarily met ICASA’s vision of affordable access to the wide range of communication services. Though access to mobile services continues to grow, broadband access (both fixed and mobile) remains at unsatisfactory levels due to the perceived high cost of communication services, in particular, data services.

 

In that regard, ICASA has embarked on several interventions aimed at addressing this challenge, these are the mobile services market review process and the regulation of data expiry and transfer rules.

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The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has finally received a list of all political parties contesting the National and Provincial Elections to be held on 08 May 2019 from the Independent Electoral Commission. The receipt of the list paves the way for allocation of Party Election Broadcast (PEB) slots to all contesting political parties in terms of the regulations.

The allocation of PEB slots will take place on 04 April 2019 as follows:

Venue  : ICASA Head Office

350 Witch-Hazel Avenue

Eco Point Office Park, Eco Park

Centurion

Time : 08h30

 

 

All political parties and interested stakeholders, the public broadcaster and other broadcasting service licensees who have indicated interest in transmitting PEBs are invited to be part of the activity for allocation of PEB slots which will ultimately see political parties being afforded equitable treatment and broadcast coverage during the election broadcast period to be formally proclaimed by the Council of ICASA.

 

 

“With the allocation of slots, all political parties shall have access to the airwaves and broadcasters are further encouraged, in the public interest, to provide a full, impartial, and independent coverage of the elections; and abide by the regulations,” says Acting Chairperson, Dr Keabetswe Modimoeng.

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The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has published its findings in respect of a process to review the framework governing the community broadcasting services sector. This publication of the findings document has also culminated into the draft regulations for the review of the community broadcasting services sector.

ICASA is therefore calling on all interested stakeholders, civic organisations and the public at large to participate and make their written submissions on the draft regulations in order to assist the Authority to come up with an informed regulation put together in the public interest.

 

The review of the community broadcasting framework will address known and unknown shortcomings in the regulatory and operational environment of the community broadcasting services sector. The envisaged outcomes of the review include, but not limited to, streamlining the community broadcasting related regulations, a review of the community broadcasting licensing framework, as well as operational guidelines for the community broadcasting services sector.

 

ICASA will be conducting workshops in different areas across nine (9) provinces to solicit input on the Draft Regulations. The workshops will kick off from 15 May 2018 to 06 June 2018 and the schedule for the workshops will be published in due course.

 

“The community broadcasting sector continues to experience challenges relating to, among others, governance, mismanagement or lack of proper management and lack of business ethos. This process is an important intervention on the part of ICASA to ensure the smooth-running of the sector and to bring the necessary changes that will see the sector being regulated in the public and community interest,” says Councillor Botlenyana Mokhele.

 

Mokhele further encouraged full participation in the regulation-making process so that all matters of concern for the sector can be fully addressed. “It would be great to see submissions from the members of the sector and attendance in the upcoming workshops in particular because they will have to comply with the final regulations when they come into effect. This is therefore an opportunity for them to raise any issues they feel ICASA must address to make the sector work better and for the communities they are licensed for,” conclude Mokhele.

The findings document and the draft regulations are available on the ICASA website.

 

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The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has published a discussion document on Digital Sound Broadcasting Services. The publication gives notice of ICASA’s intention to conduct an inquiry into the prospects of implementing a digital sound broadcasting service in South Africa.

 

Digital Broadcasting Service is an audio broadcasting technology aimed at providing superior quality sound broadcasting service using digital communication technology.

 

 

It differs from traditional analogue broadcasting service in that, digital signals can be transmitted successfully at lower transmitter power. Digital radio is also easy to use or tune in than analogue radio in the form of Amplified Modulation (AM) and Frequency Modulation (FM). Data capabilities of digital radio can be used directly or modified for other related broadcasting activities such as Internet Radio.

 

 

“The licensing of different forms of broadcasting services require a lot of spectrum, which is a scarce resource and ICASA continues to receive enquiries from the public about licensing processes therefore encouraging and assisting Council to make decisions to offer more services to provide for competition in the broadcasting sector”, says Councillor Dimakatso Qocha. If and when implemented, digital broadcasting services can improve spectrum efficiency and spectrum management; and offer choice for consumers or South African audiences.

 

 

Interested parties are invited to make written representations on the published Discussion Document on Digital Sound Broadcasting Services within forty-five (45) working days from the publication of the Notice in the Government Gazette.

 

A copy of the Discussion Document is available at ICASA’s Head Office library, 164 Katherine Street, Sandton; as well as at all Regional Offices. Click here to download the document.          

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The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (“the Authority”) hereby give notice to convene oral hearings on the Inquiry into Subscription Television Broadcasting Services in accordance with Section 4B of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa Act, read with section 67(4) of the Electronic Communications Act.

 

The Authority published the Discussion Document on the Inquiry into Subscription Television Broadcasting Services in Government Gazette 41070 Government Notice 642 of 25 August 2017. The closing date for submissions was 31 October 2017 extended to 04 December 2017. The Authority received eighteen (18) submissions and all indicated that they are interested in making oral presentations.

The hearings will be held as follows;

 

Date:     07-11 MAY 2018

Venue:  ICASA BLOCK C PRESENTATION ROOM

164 KATHERINE STREET

PINMILL FARM

SANDTON

SCHEDULE

 

DAY 1: 07 MAY 2018

Registrations 09h00 – 09h30
Chairperson’s opening address 09h30 – 10h00
1. ETV 10h00 – 11h30
2. Capricorn Community Concepts 11h30- 12h30
BREAK 12h30 – 14h00
3. Deukom 14h00 – 15h00
4. ACT-SA 15h00 – 16h00

DAY 2: 08 MAY 2018

Registrations 09h00- 09h30
Chairperson’s opening address 09h30 – 10h00
1. SABC 10h00- 11h30
2. Cape Town TV 11h30 – 12h30
BREAK 12h30- 14h00
3. MMA and SOS 14h00 – 15h00
4. Mr. Whoolf 15h00- 16h00

DAY 3: 09 MAY 2018

Registrations 08h30- 09h00
Chairperson’s opening address 09h00 – 09h30
1. MTN 09h30 – 10h30
2. Vodacom 10h30 – 11h30
3. Telkom 11h30 – 13h00
BREAK 13h00- 14h00
4. Cell C 14h00-15h30

DAY 4: 10 MAY 2018

Regist.rations 09h00 – 09h30
Chairperson’s opening address 09h30 – 10h00
1. Kwese’ Econet 10h00 – 12h30
BREAK 12h30- 14h00
2 . Liquid Telecoms 14h00 – 15h00

DAY 5: 11 MAY 2018

Registrations 09h00- 09h30
Chairperson’s opening address 09h30 – 10h00
1. Multichoice 10h00- 12h30
BREAK 12h30-13h30
2. Cricket SA 13h30-14h30
3. PSL 14h30- 15h30
4. SARU 15h30- 16h30

 

Presenters are requested to make available 9 copies of the presentation to panel members.

Any enquiries in relation to this notice must be submitted in writing (e-mail) to:

Ms Violet Letsiri

Senior Manager: Social Policy for ICT service

Tel: (011)566 3715

Vletsiri@icasa.org.za

OR

Ms Honey Makola

Project Leader

Tel: (011) 566 3665

 

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