South African telecommunications regulator ICASA announced on Monday an emergency release of broadband spectrum to meet a spike in internet demand during the country’s 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 South Africa (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.