Taking into consideration Ministerial Policy/Policy Directions and stakeholder engagements within the sector, ICASA has issued prescribed minimum standards that licensees must adhere to during the national state of disaster. The minimum standards are as follows:
Complaints Resolution: Complaints resolution time frames set by ICASA will not apply during the COVID-19 pandemic period
Tariffs and Fees: Radio frequency spectrum licence renewal date has been extended from 31 March 2020 to 30 June 2020
Performance Period for Sound and Television Broadcasting Services: the performance period for both sound and television broadcasting runs from 07h00 to 21h00
Syndication: programme syndication may not exceed 45% per week of a broadcasting service licensee’s programming
Quarterly Submission of Programming Logs and Recordings To ICASA: submission is suspended but programming logs must be kept at ICASA's request
Submission of Applications: hard copy applications for licences, authorisations and/or certificates are suspended
Television Broadcasting Services to Persons with Disabilities: television broadcasting service licensees (excluding community television broadcasting service licensees) must ensure that broadcast coverage of all media briefings by the National Command Council includes a sign language interpreter
Deployment of Electronic Communications Facilities: licensees must notify ICASA of new installations of electronic communications facilities within 7 days of installation and ICASA will maintain a register of those facilities deployed during the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown.
ICASA Extends Regulatory Submission Dates
On 1 April, ICASA resolved to extend deadlines for all regulatory submissions that were due during the lockdown period. The regulatory authority took the resolution after consideration that interested stakeholders would have experienced the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and would be focused on implementing measures to mitigate the pandemic. The extension affords interested stakeholders an opportunity to prepare and submit their submission to ICASA.
ICASA Grants 3 Month Spectrum Break
ICASA extended the annual radio frequency licence renewal date from 31 March 2020 to 30 June 2020. This means that radio frequency licences will remain valid during this month period. The regulations state that the extension was as a result of the lockdown measures currently in place, which could affect licensee’s ability to renew their license. The regulations also state that failure to adhere to the new renewal date will result in the immediate expiry of the radio frequency spectrum licence. Radio spectrum licence holders should, therefore, note that the extension means that the new calendar year for validity of the spectrum licences starts on 1 July 2020.