Moratorium On The Issuance Of Spectrum And Broadcasting Service Licenses

The Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) is an independent regulator established in terms of Section 4 of the Commu-nications Act (No. 8 of 2009) (herein after referred to as the Act).

CRAN is mandated to regulate telecommunication services and net-works, broad-casting services, postal services and the use and allocation of radio spectrum. In November 2018 the Authority in accordance with its rule making process granted members of the public (by way of a public notice) an opportunity to make written sub-missions (within a period of fourteen (14) days) on its intent to impose a fifteen (15) month moratorium on the issuance of Spectrum Licenses in the frequency band 87.5 – 108 MHz, for the provision of analogue FM radio broad-casting services and Broadcasting Service Licenses, where the provision of such broadcasting services entails the use of radio waves in the aforementioned spectrum band as contemplated in Section 101(6) and (8) of the Act.
“The Authority here-with gives notice that the fifteen (15) month moratorium is imposed effective from 22 January 2019 as per the Government Ga-zette No. 6826 under general notice no. 5” states Festus K. Mbandeka, Chief Executive Officer, CRAN.
As set out in the Frequency Band Plan of Namibia, the frequency band 87.5 – 108 MHz is currently allocated to analogue FM radio broad-casting and this is the only spectrum band that may be utilised for analogue FM radio broadcasting. The increase in the number of broadcasting service licensees has thus resulted in the scarcity of analogue FM spectrum in most geographical areas in Namibia, particularly in urban areas.
The Authority there-fore intends to con-duct a review of the Frequency Channeling Plan for analogue FM radio broadcasting. The review will require a detailed spectrum analysis, coverage predictions, cross border coordination and analysis of various transmitter power out-puts to ensure maxi-mum use of the avail-able radio frequency spectrum.
“The Frequency Channelling Plan review will therefore ensure that radio frequency spectrum is optimally utilized and managed in an orderly, efficient and effective manner, as contemplated in Section 99 of the Act” said Mbandeka. In order to conduct the review for the Frequency Channel-ling Plan, it is necessary to ensure a static database of assigned spectrum in order to permit for an analysis of available spectrum, consider possible changes in frequency assignments and carry out coverage predictions, and conduct an assessment in respect of power outputs and other technical requirements. It is therefore not possible to complete the review of the spectrum database while concurrently awarding new spectrum licenses to broadcasting service licensees or amend existing spectrum licences.
As a result thereof, the imposition of a moratorium on applications for Spectrum Licenses is extended to applications for Broadcasting Service Licenses, should the applicant intend to use radio waves to provide FM Radio broadcasting services.

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