ICASA releases draft TV White Space regulations ahead of spectrum summit

With three weeks to go until the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance’s (DAS) Fifth Annual Global Summit, set for South Africa, event co-host Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), has published draft regulations on the use of TV White Space (TVWS) in the region.

The draft regulations, which are open for public consultation until May 19, 2017, highlight the progress South Africa is making in enabling affordable Internet through dynamic spectrum access. These draft regulations and technologies will be discussed at the DSA Global Summit, taking place in Cape Town between May 9 to 11, 2017, where industry figures and regulators from around the world have been announced to speak, including the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

“In the past, exclusive licenses for specific frequency bands and specific purposes dominated spectrum allocation policy and regulations,” said Pakamile Kayakethu Pongwana, CEO of ICASA. “While these models are good for monetizing the spectrum and for coordination between multiple services and operators to avoid interference, they often result in underutilization of spectrum. In the last decade, however, governments and regulators around the world have embraced the concept of ‘spectrum commons’ as another way to bring citizens innovation on new wireless technologies.”

The event will open on May 9, 2017 with a full day regulator workshop on spectrum sharing and dynamic spectrum access. Alongside ICASA, other regulators in attendance will include Korea Radio Promotion Association (RAPA), Agência Nacional del Espectro (ANE), the Ministry of Communications for Argentina and Agência Nacional de Telecomunicações (ANATEL).

Day one of the Global Summit will be opened with keynote addresses from Kalpak Gude, President of the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance, and ICASA CEO, Pakamile Kayalethu Pongwana, followed by panel sessions on spectrum sharing and enabling the Internet of Things (IoT) through dynamic access technologies. The latter panel will feature Dr. F. Mekuria, Chief Research Scientist at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) South Africa, where he leads research on dynamic spectrum access. His perspective on how to connect underserved populations in emerging economies will add another dimension to the panel, which also includes Facebook, University of Strathclyde, and VistaLifeSciences Inc.

A panel session on closing the digital divide will address financial challenges associated with large-scale network deployments, with speakers including: Alexander Hadden, Director, Structured Finance & Insurance, Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC); Chikioke Egejuru, Investment Analysis, International Finance Corporation; Lumko Mtimde, CEO, the Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa (USAASA) and will be moderated by Frank McCosker, GM, Affordable Access & Smart Financing, Microsoft.

Other confirmed speakers on day one include Ira Keltz, Deputy Chief of Policy and Rules Division, Office of Engineering and Technology, US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), who will join the panel on Wi-Fi for the 5G World. On the final day of the Summit, Ira will start with a keynote address, before joining the Regulator Leadership Summit later in the day.

ICASA CEO Pongwana will return to speak on day two of the Summit to speak on a panel titled Creating Opportunities for Deployment, which will be moderated by Emeritus Executive Director of the DSA, Prof. H Sama Nwana. The panel will bring together policy makers to discuss challenges and solutions to establishing regulatory frameworks for enabling investment in infrastructure – something that is crucial to bridging the digital divide in South Africa, and around the world.

Other speakers confirmed on the agenda include representatives from: Facebook, Adaptrum Inc., C3 Limited, the Communications Authority of Kenya, Aruba (a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company) and New American Foundation.

Platinum sponsors of this year’s event include Microsoft and Nominet with Gold sponsors being Adaptrum and MBC, while MedyaCity is the Silver sponsor.

More details of the event, to be held in Cape Town, including the agenda can be obtained online.

The DSA advocates for laws and regulations that will lead to more efficient and effective spectrum utilization. The organisation’s membership spans multinationals, small- and medium-sized enterprises, and academic, research, and other organizations from around the world, all working to create innovative solutions that will increase the amount of available spectrum to the benefit of consumers and businesses alike.