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Broadband Infraco expects licence decision by end-September

2 Sep 2009

South African cableco Broadband Infraco has announced that it expects to receive two telecoms licenses by the end of September, although legal uncertainty could delay the award, Reuters reports, citing the company’s CEO, Dave Smith. The state-owned firm, which was created in 2007 with a mandate for boosting the country’s broadband connectivity and bandwidth availability, has applied to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) for network operator and service provider licences. Mr Smith said: ‘I sincerely believe that it can still happen before the end of September, The worst case is if it gets tied up in a legal battle or something… (and) the current situation gets perpetuated… it does have market and economic implications.’ However, the Internet Service Providers Association has objected to Infraco’s application for a service provider’s licence, which would allow the company to enter the retail market, on the grounds that it would unfairly favour a state entity in the sector, the association argued that Infraco should only be granted a network operator’s licence, allowing it to operate as a wholesale carrier. ICASA, Infraco and the government have asked for a legal opinion to try and overcome differing interpretations of the Electronic Communications Amendment Act, under which the licenses are being sought.

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