Broadband and frequency spectrum plans in SA budget

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) will buy hand-held spectrum analysers and test equipment upgrades in the coming financial year.

This is according to the 2014 Budget Vote on Communications (Vote 27), published on Wednesday, 26 February 2014.

“The allocation and efficient use of broadband spectrum will play an important role in the rollout of broadband services in the country,” the Vote stated.

To ensure optimal use of spectrum by license holders, the Vote said that Icasa will acquire customer relations, management, and spectrum management tools.

Core modules of the new spectrum management system will also be implemented to improve spectrum management.

“These and other projects account for the large increase in acquisition of assets in 2014/15, and the deficits over the medium term,” the Vote said.

During the 2012/13 financial year, performance audits were carried out on the national frequency spectrum in order to determine if it was used efficiently.

The Vote said that the large increase in external audit costs in 2012/13 was due to these performance audits.

External audit costs went from R666,000 in 2011/12 to R10,003,000 in 2012/13.

Minister of Communications Yunus Carrim recently reiterated to parliament that he and his department aims to develop a spectrum policy by the 2014 elections.

He said that the Department of Communications has drafted a Policy Direction on Spectrum for Broadband, and was busy publishing the findings of the Digital Dividend study.

This study is essential to the release of digital dividend spectrum, Carrim said.

The so-called “digital dividend” is the frequency spectrum that is set to become available once South Africa migrates from analogue to digital terrestrial television.

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Broadband and frequency spectrum plans in SA budget