ISPs want more time to meet BEE requirements

The Wireless Access Providers’ Association (Wapa) says several Internet service providers (ISPs) are concerned about the timing of the enforcement of interim transformation requirements from April 2022.

In 2008, the legislation which replaced VANS licences with ECS and ECNS licences introduced a new requirement that ISPs have 30% broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) equity held by historically disadvantaged groups (HDG).

This can include any black South African, women, people with disabilities, and youth.

It is important to emphasise that this is not the same as the recently gazetted regulations that seek to force ISPs to have at least 30% black and HDG ownership.

“What government has said, in essence, is that the transformation and equity ownership regulations that have been in place since 2008 will be enforced for the larger operators, the Individual ECS and ECNS licence holders, from April 2022,” Wapa Exco member Paul Colmer said

Individual licence holders suggested they did not have enough time to establish effective agreements to reach Level 4, as required.

Paul Colmer, Wapa Exco member

Colmer stated other organisations have raised what Wapa also feels are valid concerns, not with the ultimate targets, but rather with the timing around interim targets.

“Companies that currently have no certification, for example, could struggle to reach level 7 by April 2022.”

Level 4, which is higher than Level 7, requires that a company has between 80 and 90 points on the B-BBEE scorecard.

These points are earned through a combination of elements, including ownership, management control, skills development, enterprise and supplier development, and socio-economic development.

Colmer said Individual licence holders that are also Wapa members have expressed concerns around the timing.

He said that Wapa was keeping a close eye on an application made by Internet Service Providers Association (Ispa) to Icasa in this regard.

Now read: Forcing ISPs to have black owners is “legalised corruption”

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ISPs want more time to meet BEE requirements