South Africa's telecom regulator, ICASA, has released draft plans for managing radio frequency spectrum. These include a Radio Frequency Migration Plan (RFMP) and an International Mobile Telecommunication roadmap (IMT-R), now open for public consultation. ICASA states that these drafts aim to ensure proper coordination and alignment of radio frequency spectrum allocation in South Africa.

The RFMP strives to bring the South African National Radio Frequency Plan (NRFP) in line with the decisions of the World Radio Conference 2023 (WRC-23) and the latest International Telecommunication Union (ITU) radio regulations. It outlines changes and requirements for specific radio communications frequency spectrum, including those earmarked for IMT, such as spectrum used by mobile licensees in South Africa, while also considering previous RFMPs from 2013 and 2019.

In addition to the RFMP, ICASA has published an IMT roadmap for public comment. This draft IMT-R focuses on proposals for allocating and assigning spectrum for mobile services and identified IMT systems, in alignment with the NRFP of 2021, WRC-23 decisions, and ITU regulations. The goal is to adapt to the increasing popularity of mobile broadband services and advance broadband technologies to meet national expectations.

ICASA emphasizes the importance of mobile broadband in achieving the vision of "Broadband for All," as outlined in initiatives like SA Connect and the National Development Plan 2030. SA Connect, initiated in 2013, seeks to provide universal broadband access, particularly in rural and underserved areas. Despite slow progress, the government plans to invest R3 billion by 2025 to connect government municipalities, healthcare facilities, and schools to the Internet. Supported by entities like the State Information Technology Agency (SITA), Broadband Infraco, and Sentech, SA Connect aims to connect 5.8 million sites to high-speed Internet by 2025/2026, including the rollout of community Wi-Fi hotspots across districts as part of its second phase. Former DCDT Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni pledged to expand community Wi-Fi hotspots across districts in the coming years.

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