ICASA moves to regulate IPTV

Posted by LA Thornton on Thursday, March 4, 2010
On 16 Feb 2010, ICASA published a Discussion Document on the Regulation of Internet Protocol TV, for public comment, due 26 March 2010.  ICASA indicates that the Discussion Document will lead to a regulatory framework for IPTV.  It sets out comparative regulatory frameworks in various other jurisdictions and concludes with some questions regarding the appropriate manner (if at all) to regulate IPTV in South Africa.
The Discussion Document asks fundamental questions like whether the EC Act should be amended to treat electronic communications and broadcasting licensees similarly. 

A big question that comes to mind is whether this should be a priority area for ICASA to be focusing its resources, given that IPTV is happening anyway, outside of the broadcasting regulatory framework.  An Internet access provider (over which IPTV is delivered) must be licensed as an electronic communications and electronic communications network provider.  The IP content provider does not have to be licensed at all in South Africa.

In any event, because there is a significant lack of broadband network that is available in South Africa, IPTV will not be available to the majority of South Africans anytime soon.

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