ICASA invites industry to consider the licensing of V- and E- bands

September 11th, 2015, Published in Articles: EngineerIT, Uncategorised articles

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has published a document inviting industry to discuss and comment on proposals for the licensing of communication systems operating in the V-band (57-66 GHz) and in E-band (71-76 GHz) paired with 81 – 86 GHz.

Over the past few years ICASA has received requests from industry for access to these two bands for which there was no regulatory framework in South Africa. The authority aims to regulate the E-band and the V-Band in a manner which is effective and frequency spectrum-efficient and to keep licensing delays to the bare minimum by proposing a licence exemption where feasible, and light licensing where full exemption is not feasible.

With the release of the discussion paper ICASA proposes a licence-exempt approach for V-band and a hybrid approach – a combination of light licensing and full licensing for E-band. The document discusses various aspects and puts forward various proposals and questions and encourages the industry and public to discuss the various options and provide feedback to the Authority to assist in formulating a regulatory framework for the two bands that will be in the best interests of the communications sector in South Africa.

In terms of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) E-band is allocated in the ITU radio regulations to the fixed service in all three ITU regions. The band is most useful for short links providing high data transmissions rates. Commercial employment is likely to be utilised for mobile backhaul, high capacity fixed networks.

The use of V- band dates back to the 1990s when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the USA adopted rules for licence-exempt operations in the 57 – 64 GHz band. With 7 GHz bandwidth this band is highly desirable for high capacity uses in applications such as streaming HD video from Blu-ray video players or a tablet to a television set. It is also used for peer-peer outdoor operations, providing broadband access to adjacent structures in commercial facilities and extending the reach of fibre networks.

ICASA lists four possible scenarios:

  • A self-coordination approach (co-ordination done by user)
  • A regulator approach
  • An approach of regulator-coordinated with fixed channel assignments and
  • A licence-free approach.

The document discuss each scenario in detail.

Responses for consideration by ICASA should be addressed for the attention of Mandla Samuel Mchunu by email to mmchunu@icasa.org.za by not later than 27 November 2015. For telephone enquiries call 011 566-3291 between 10:00 and 16:00 on weekdays.

The gazette details are No 39180 issued on 8 September 2015.  See gazette by clicking here.

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