Communications regulator Icasa is moving to make additional radio frequency spectrum available for Wi-Fi broadband through a proposed amendment to regulations.
Icasa has published draft amendment radio frequency regulations that include an updated list of radio apparatus whose use or possession doesn’t require a spectrum licence.
“The authority is proposing the incorporation of the key lower 6GHz band (5 925MHz to 6 425MHz) as well as the 122GHz to 246GHz band for non-specific short-range applications,” it said. “This will provide a much-needed boost for Wi-Fi availability and uptake, and is expected to enable faster data communications between devices connected to wireless infrastructure, reduce latency, and improve efficiency and data throughput.”
“The decision to update the regulations is necessitated by the need to keep the provisions of the regulations current with the existing and emerging technologies aimed at revolutionising the electronic communications sector,” it added.
Icasa explained that the lower 6GHz band is “rapidly emerging worldwide as a key component in broadband roll-out and uptake, providing an essential local-loop component to support fibre or fixed-wireless access backhaul and Wi-Fi deployment”.
The move by the regulator comes after lobbying by industry players to open up the 6GHz band for Wi-Fi in South Africa. The Wireless Access Providers Association (Wapa) has been at the forefront of this lobbying, with its executive, Paul Colmer, telling TechCentral in a podcast interview in May that making the 6GHz band available for Wi-Fi could generated generate huge benefits for the South African economy.
Specifically, the spectrum could be used for Wi-Fi 6E, an evolution of Wi-Fi 6 that exploits the 6GHz band.
Those interested in making written submissions regarding Icasa’s proposals have until 4pm on 30 January to do so. The draft regulations are available on Icasa’s website. – © 2022 NewsCentral Media