Page 3 - EngineerIt March 2021
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                                  Que será, será

                               hen Doris Day made the song Que será, será   ICASA has held many public hearings
                               popular, instead of love she could well have   on spectrum and general communication
                       Wbeen referring to communication spectrum for        issues. The industry and other stakeholders
                       South Africa!  Written in 1956, the lyrics of the refrain very   participate in these events but lo and behold,
                       aptly reflect where we stand today with the release of   when regulations are published, some part of
                       broadband spectrum:                                  the industry will run to the courts with some or
                                                                            other interdict.
                       Que será, será
                       Whatever will be, will be                            I believe the time is right for the industry
                       The future’s not ours to see                         to start taking a broader view and put the
                       Que será, será                                       country first, instead of focussing on petty
                       What will be, will be!                               issues and holding the whole country to
                                                                            ransom. It is a well-known fact that access
                       And so it is. Just as everyone was excited that after more   to broadband will stimulate economic
                       than a decade of bungling by a string of communication   growth. So, if the industry could for once
                       ministers, ICASA was going to hold spectrum auctions and   take a broader view, South Africa would
                       South Africans were finally on the road to have access to   have had access to broadband long ago
                       real broadband, along came MTN and Telkom with court   and industry would have increased its
                       interdicts to stop the process.                      revenue instead of spending it on litigation.
                                                                            What are they thinking?
                       According to Telkom, the first fundamental flaw made
                       by ICASA is that the auction ITA involves the auction   All this also has an impact on broader
                       of portions of spectrum in the 703-733MHz paired with   communication issues. ICASA is bogged
                       758-788MHz (the 700MHz), and the 791-821MHz paired   down with litigation issues which are a drain
                       with 832-862MHz (the 800MHz) frequency bands, which it   on its limited resources and involve personnel
                       argues are not immediately available for use on a national   who could be focussing on other important
                       basis by a licensee who may ultimately succeed in its bid   issues such as type approval of equipment.
                       during the auction process.
                                                                            Come on communication industry!  Stop
                       “Neither the authority nor the minister has formally   running to the courts, get your CEOs around
                       committed to a date by which these frequencies will   the table and don’t let small issues become
                       become available for use by any licensee. They have   insurmountable ones.  South Africans can do
                       been unable to provide such clarity, notwithstanding   better than this!
                       the fact that Telkom and other interested parties have
                       sought such clarity during their submissions flowing from   Join the debate and let me know what you
                       the ITA process.                                     are thinking. Your opinion counts. Drop me an
                       The reason that the spectrum is in dispute is because it will
                       not be available as the TV digital migration process has not   Enjoy reading this edition of EngineerIT
                       been completed. It is also partly because of bungling by
                       various ministers of communication, litigation by ITV and   Hans van de Groenendaal
                       the quibble about encryption or an open signal.      Editor

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