The Wireless Access Providers Association (WAPA) is strongly urging self-regulation within the industry as a way of increasing accountability amongst operators.

WAPA is an association that is dedicated to governing the responsible use of wireless technology in South Africa.

Addressing delegates at the recent Wireless Broadband World Africa 2009, Johann Botha, Chairman of WAPA said: "Hopefully, in 12 to 18 months’ time, we will have developed a set of rules to help the industry self-regulate itself."

Botha urged more transparency in the use of frequency spectrum in South Africa.

In an interview with in Cape Town, Botha said: "Spectrum is a national resource and it is in the interest of all citizens that spectrum be used as efficiently as possible.

"Spectrum has gone ‘from coal to gold’ in the last few years. With 300 new ECNS licensees, many of whom will be providing fixed wireless access services, national spectrum resources will be under added pressure.

"Positive dialogue, cooperation and a new approach to spectrum management is needed."

Regulatory issues became a topical matter during the deliberations at the Wireless Broadband gathering.

Most of the participants lamented the unfavourable regulatory environment that hampers the use of technologies.

These technologies offer tremendous opportunities. Governments can work with the private sector to accelerate rollout of broadband networks, and to extend access to low-income consumers.

So far, the mobile platform has been identified as the single most powerful way to reach and deliver public and private services to hundreds of millions of people in remote and rural areas across the developing world.

Botha said that broadband provides the basis for local information technology (IT) services industries, which create youth employment, increase productivity and exports, and promote social inclusion.

Early this month WAPA had to send out an advisory to its membership, advising them to stop using 5600 – 5650 MHz spectrum because of interference with C-band weather radar systems.

This came about after an investigation by the Open Spectrum Alliance (OSA) into spectrum which may be feasible to demonstrate an industry self-regulation model through lite-licensing spectrum for terrestrial point-to-point wireless links in the 5.9 – 6.1 GHz range.

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