Spectrum trading and spectrum leasing would facilitate competition in broadband Internet-protocol- (IP-) based networks, which would in turn place a greater constraint on terrestrial- and satellite-based distribution networks, said telecommunications company Neotel senior regulatory specialist Ryan Hawthorne.
Speaking at the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) public hearings on wholesale broadcasting transmission services, he added that, to level the playing field between satellite- and terrestrial-based broadcasting networks and IP-based networks, it would be useful to implement charges for spectrum simultaneously.
“To our knowledge, broadcasters do not pay for the spectrum that they have access to, unlike the electronic communication services and electronic communication network services licence holders,” he said.
Hawthorne added that, while Neotel agrees that IP-based distribution networks were unlikely to place a constraint on satellite- and terrestrial-based networks in the foreseeable future, video delivered over fixed lines would account for a significant portion of all IP traffic in the country in the next five years.
“We encourage the authority to vigorously pursue its local-loop unbundling process so that IP-based broadband access networks could provide more of a constraint than they currently do on satellite- and terrestrial-based distribution networks,” he said.
The public hearings follow the publication of a discussion document earlier this year setting out the authority’s initial views on operators that may have significant market power in these markets, as well as the market's definition. Further, Icasa would examine possible pro-competitive measures that might be applied in these markets where competition may be found to be ineffective.