ICASA released a press statement announcing its intent to launch an inquiry into must-carry regulations to determine whether they need to be amended.
According to ICASA, a point of contention within these regulations is the point that “a Subscription Broadcasting Service licensee (SBS) is required to carry the television programmes of a Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) Licensee at no cost to the SBS Licensee.”
An investigation on the topic which began in September 2018 emphasized ICASA’s position that the SABC must deliver signal to Subscription Broadcasting Services at its own cost, while SBS licensees must incur the cost of broadcasting.
“The different wording of ‘at no cost’ in the regulations came about in an effort by the authority to be non-discriminatory and fair and to ensure that universal access was prioritised over financial gain,” said ICASA.
“Although ICASA cannot make a conclusive finding at this stage on whether the resultant implementation of the regulations on costs carried by the PBS and SBS licensees warrant that the regulations be amended, there is therefore a need for further consultation and to conduct an inquiry into the effectiveness of the regulations and possible review thereof,” said ICASA.