SA offers temporary spectrum to cope with increased demand during the lockdown

Minister of Communications Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams told reporters that her department would introduce measures to protect small businesses in the information communications technology sector amid the coronavirus update.

This would also be done with a view to combating the spread of fake news, she said. 

The measures will include a moratorium on fees for community broadcasters, funds to support small, micro and medium enterprises in the ICT sector, and the temporary provision of spectrum for the lockdown period.

Ndabeni-Abrahams was speaking at an inter-ministerial briefing aimed at unpacking government’s interventions in light of the coronavirus outbreak in South Africa, as well as the Friday national lockdown that President Cyril Ramaphosa declared on Monday evening.

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Ndabeni-Abrahams discussed several communication-related issues her department would be tackling.

Among other things, the coronavirus outbreak has brought to bear the propensity of false reports or “fake news” to spread in an environment of panic, she said. 

Ndabeni-Abrahams said a host of mechanisms would be introduced to ensure that communication lines remained reliable during lockdown. South Africans would need access to accurate and reliable information on the coronavirus during the 21-day lockdown period, which begins at midnight on Thursday, she explained. 

She said the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) would consider releasing temporary spectrum relief to those that must provide communications services during the lockdown period.

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