Icasa triples wi-fi spectrum in an effort to better the internet experience in SA

File photo.

File photo.

Published Jun 28, 2023


The Internet Service Providers’ Association of SA (ISPA) has announced that the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) is making available an additional 500 Mhz of bandwidth to customers.

In a statement, ISPA said this means that Icasa tripled the spectrum available for in-vehicle and in-building wi-fi connectivity, provided users upgrade their routers to the latest Wi-Fi 6E standard.

According to ISPA, towards the end of May, Icasa published an Amendment to Annexure B of the Radio Frequency Spectrum Regulations (2015) in respect of the Radio Frequency Spectrum Licence Exemptions.

‘’Icasa should be commended for this timely move as the lower 6GHz spectrum band has now been opened up for the provision of wi-fi, which is the connectivity option of choice for South African consumers and Government connectivity initiatives like SA Connect and the National Broadband Project,’’ ISPA said.

ISPA regulatory adviser Dominic Cull said: “For home, SOHO (Small Office / Home Office) and SME users, in particular, the recent amendments to the radio regulations dramatically increase the spectrum available for use by wi-fi applications".

He said spectrum decreases contention, thereby providing for a more stable environment for denser wireless networks.

“This latest Icasa move caters to many more connected devices on the home wi-fi network, particularly in high-density and multi-level buildings,” Cull said.

ISPA said as high-speed fibre optic cable is rolled out across South Africa, home wi-fi has traditionally been a bottleneck, with lightning-fast connectivity crashing headlong into the limitations of wireless home and SOHO set-ups.

‘’Too many competing devices, exceeding the range of the technology or obstacles obstructing the radio signal can all result in high-speed internet access actually being experienced as mediocre transfer and browsing speeds.

‘’Fortunately, the amendment to Annexure B of the Radio Frequency Spectrum Regulations (2015) coupled with the advent of the next generation upgrade that is wi-fi 6/6E and 7, should see faster speeds experienced by supported devices in the home and SOHO environments,’’ it said.

In addition, wi-fi 6E is a new standard that can offer innovations and allow importers to bring in cutting-edge wi-fi products to South Africa, ISPA said.

“The world today is hyper-competitive, and no country can afford to rest on its technology laurels. ISPA, therefore, looks forward to Icasa opening up the rest of the 6 Ghz band in a similar manner as its recent, very positive move,” said Cull.