The South African Connect Policy, established in 2013, has reported that 90% of the population in 2020 should have been connected with speeds of 5Mbit/s and 50% of the people at 100Mbit/s. In addition, all the schools should have, at this stage, been connected at 10Mbit/s. However, industry associations believe much work needs to be done by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) to respond to the South African government’s commitment to offering broadband connections.
However, the question remains: how can the government ensure that all citizens are included in accessing fast and reliable internet?
A comment by the World Bank on broadband access noted, “Access to broadband internet has become an essential value for economic and human development both for developing and developed countries. It ensures efficient distribution of services like education and healthcare and provides women’s empowerment and environmental sustainability opportunities.
To tackle the broadband divide is by acquiring a combination of technologies with flexible spectrum management tools to reach rural parts of South Africa. And one such tool is called dynamic spectrum access.
Dynamic Spectrum is a regulatory tool to encourage efficient and effective spectrum sharing to achieve inclusive broadband access and a technical instrument.
The communication regulator, ICASA, conducted comprehensive research and developed a structure for the deployment of television white spaces (TVWS) technology, which uses the gaps between channels (the “snow” you see when tuning an analogue TV) to provide internet access.
In March 2018, ICASA published TVWS regulations detailing the deployment process.
ICASA certified in 2021 the first secondary database provider indicating that parties can use TVWS technology.