ICASA wants to create regulatory framework for IPTV

Regulation & Policy

South Africa’s communications regulator, ICASA is looking at implementing a regulatory framework for IPTV. The regulator hopes that this framework will speed up the introduction of triple play services – voice, internet and IPTV services in the country, according to local publication Business Day.

ICASA acknowledged that IPTV implementation was limited by broadband access in the country, currently very low. “IPTV has not taken off in South Africa although there is considerable interest from a range of stakeholders, including current owners of broadcasting and electronic communication licences. As stated, more emphasis will be placed on the regulation of non-linear services”, reads the discussion document issued on IPTV framework.

Furthermore, the organization argues that the biggest impediment would be the high tariffs charged by operators for broadband access, adding that in Europe, for example, IPTV could expand easily as a result of high speed broadband internet access at affordable prices.

“International precedence shows that in addition to developing forward looking broadband policies, regulators also intervened in the broadband market by regulating the rates at which broadband internet access services are provided”, stated ICASA representatives.

To facilitate public discussion, ICASA has conducted an international benchmark exercise, analyzing how regulators in Europe, America and Asia have adopted IPTV regulations.

In Canada, IPTV and VOD (Video On Demand) were classified as broadcasting services and regulated under the category of broadcasting distribution companies and are issued a broadcasting license. On the other side, in South Africa, there are no such regulations in place.

According to the Department of Communications, the national broadband policy has to ensure that all citizens benefit from affordable broadband.