BY: Admire Moyo, ITWeb’s News Editor.
The telecoms regulator has opened up more spectrum for WiFi services in the lower 6GHz band.
The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) today announced the publishing of an Amendment to Annexure B of Radio Frequency Spectrum Regulations, 2015, in respect of Radio Frequency Spectrum Licence Exemptions.
This effectively opens up the lower 6GHz spectrum band for the provision of WiFi services.
According to ICASA, the lower 6GHz frequency band refers to the radio frequency range of 5 925MHz – 6 425MHz, as allocated in the National Radio Frequency Plan.
Annexure B of Radio Frequency Spectrum Regulations, 2015, consists of a list of radio apparatus, the use or possession of which does not require a radio frequency spectrum licence.
This spectrum will provide a much-needed boost for WiFi availability and uptake, and is expected to enable faster data communications between devices connected to wireless infrastructure, reduce latency, improve efficiency and data throughput.
In a statement today, ICASA says it has now incorporated the key lower 6GHz frequency band (from 5 925MHz to 6 425MHz) for radio local access networks (RLAN / WiFi) applications, and the frequency band 122GHz – 246GHz for non-specific short-range applications, via this amendment to Annexure B of the Radio Frequency Spectrum Regulations.
This lower 6GHz frequency band offers several benefits and a much-needed boost for RLAN(s) and the uptake of WiFi services.
The regulator explains this additional spectrum can support more simultaneous connections, offers reduced latency, delivers faster data speeds and results in less interference, especially in potential congested high-density areas and campus environments.
“Overall, the implementation of the lower 6GHz frequency band is expected to provide significant improvements, more robust and reliable wireless communications, and an enhanced user experience for consumers and businesses throughout the country,” says the regulator.
“The introduction of the lower 6GHz frequency band for the deployment of WiFi services will also support the growth of the digital economy and help to address the digital divide by providing better, more reliable and affordable connectivity to community access networks in underserved and remote areas. This can further drive innovation and development in the wireless industry,” it adds.
According to ICASA, the lower 6GHz frequency band is rapidly emerging worldwide as a key component in broadband rollout and its uptake, providing an essential local loop component to support fibre, fixed wireless access, TV whites pace and satellite backhaul.
It points out that making the lower 6GHz available for RLAN / WiFi deployment offers important support to the national broadband strategy, with the objective of enabling socio-economic growth and development.
The authority also advises that, while a radio frequency spectrum licence is not required for the possession and use of radio apparatus listed in Annexure B of the Radio Frequency Spectrum regulations 2015, relevant regulatory requirements, such as the radio apparatus type-approval by the authority in accordance with Section 35 of the Electronic Communications Act, will continue to apply.
The authority will work closely with industry stakeholders to ensure compliance with these regulations and to protect the interests of business and consumers, it notes.
ICASA stresses the electromagnetic compatibility and safety requirement for the relevant application type remains mandatory and must refer to the prescribed standards in the authority’s official list of regulated standards.
It points out that Annexure B of the Radio Frequency Spectrum Regulations is an important component of implementing the provisions of the National Radio Frequency Band Plan.
The authority says it continues to work to ensure the list of apparatus exempt from radio frequency spectrum licensing remains dynamic, and constantly evolves to reflect technology changes in the radio communications environment.
“The authority is further committed to ensure the country stays in the forefront of innovation in wireless technologies and believes the release of the lower 6GHz band and other short-range device frequency bands will assist it in reaching this goal,” says councillor Peter Zimri, ICASA committee chairperson.
For more articles please visit the following link: Non profit articles – NGOConnectSA
Picture courtesy pexels: https://www.pexels.com/search/WIFI/