Due to the state of disaster period caused by the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has contacted licensees in South Africa to ensure that they make communication services available to all citizens.
This step was taken to get ahead of the expected surge in usage of data as the majority of South Africans across all sectors have no option but work from home, learn from home and carry on their day to day life activities (i.e. shopping, entertainment, etc.) from home through technological means, the regulator said in a statement, in addition to accessing information on the pandemic – thus placing strain on the capacity of networks.
In relation to telecommunications, Icasa called all network service providers for easy and affordable (and/or free) access to data.
The authority said it is engaging the sector on possible ways of radiofrequency spectrum relief for the duration of the declared state of disaster to ease congestion, ensure good quality of broadband services, and enable licensees to lower cost of access to consumers (particularly in relation to education, emergency and other social services).
In relation to broadcasting, Icasa is engaging with licensees to facilitate ease of access to information about the pandemic to all South Africans. All individual and class broadcasting services are required to make Public Service Announcements (PSAs) about the Covid-19 in the public interest, and as required by the relevant authorities.
In relation to postal services, the postal services sector (both reserved and unreserved services) has been requested to advise Icasa of measures they have taken or intend to take to assist customers during this disaster period.