COVID-19

South Africa makes more spectrum available to meet internet demand

By Reuters 6 April 2020

epa08340461 South African women take part in an online yoga class given by yogi Marcelle Webster in Cape Town, South Africa, 03 April 2020. Yogi Marcelle Webster took her business online at the start of the increased movement restrictions by government and has seen a rise in new students as more and more South Africans in lockdown seek means of staying healthy mentally and physically. The South African government is enforcing a 21 day total lockdown to try stem the spread of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 which causes the Covid-19 disease. EPA-EFE/NIC BOTHMA ATTENTION: This Image is part of a PHOTO SET

CAPE TOWN, April 6 (Reuters) - South African telecoms regulator ICASA announced on Monday an emergency release of broadband spectrum to meet a spike in internet demand during a lockdown to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

“The emergency release of this spectrum does not … negate the processes that are currently underway for permanent assignment of spectrum through an auction, the process which the Authority had committed to finalise by the end of 2020,” said the Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA) in a statement.

The temporary release of high demand spectrum will last for the duration of the national state of disaster declared by President Cyril Ramaphosa, said ICASA, as South Africa implements a 21-day lockdown from March 27 in a bid to curb infection rates.

The emergency release is expected to ease network congestion and maintain the quality of broadband services in Africa’s most industrialised economy.

Licencees are required to submit their applications to ICASA by April 9, the regulator added. (Reporting by Wendell Roelf; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Mark Potter)

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