The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has published a Notice Inviting Comments Regarding the Draft Framework to Qualify to Operate a Secondary Geo-Location Spectrum Database (the Draft Framework).
The telecommunication industry has been anticipating the Draft Framework since March 2018, when the Regulations on the Use of Television White Spaces were released (the Regulations).
The Regulations prescribe that all operators of television white spaces (TVWS) that are wireless based networks will be controlled by Secondary Geo-Location Spectrum Database (S-GLSD) providers. The term TVWS means the unused frequencies in the wireless spectrum between television broadcasts.
The objective of the Draft Framework is to describe the qualification process that ICASA intends to follow when assessing whether operators that wish to operate the S-GLSD can meet the qualification criteria required to provide S-GLSD services in South Africa.
ICASA will conduct the qualification assessment in a phased approach. The failure to meet the specific requirements of a particular phase in each timeframe will disqualify a S-GLSD from proceeding to the next phase.
Notably, one such phase includes a due diligence process. In terms of this phase, an organisation will be required to provide documentary evidence to ICASA of various aspects of their business, ranging from black economic empowerment initiatives, corporate governance compliance and compliance with data protection laws.
ICASA has invited interested persons to submit representations on the Draft Framework.