The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has announced its call for public comment on the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) COVID19 National Disaster Regulations review. The request highlights that the submission should include categorised relaxation measures and broadcasting services such as suspension of obligations for assembling annual general meetings for community broadcasters and local content programming requirements.
Furthermore, the submissions should include the temporary assignment of the International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) radio frequency spectrum to address challenges posed by COVID19. It should also highlight the current radio frequency spectrum sharing arrangements and obligations relating to the temporarily assigned IMT radio frequency spectrum regarding school connectivity and virtual classrooms obligations.
ICASA welcome submissions from independent production companies, civil society organisations, consumer groups and all interested stakeholders to contribute to this process in order to provide the authority with a rounded overview of concerns that need to be accommodated for in the regulations.
According to Dr Keabetswe Modimoeng, the ICASA Chairperson, the call for public review and comment is an opportunity for ICASA to find pressing and compelling issues that will assist the regulator in devising intervention in the broader industry as well as include consumer protection and benefits. Modimoeng commended the approach that the authority has undertaken, which according to ICASA, is comprehensive. The telecommunications regulator has learned a lot about regulating in a time of crisis since the COVID19 pandemic outbreak, he added. All submissions must be handed to ICASA by 16h00 (GMT+2) on 7 May.