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South African Internet Users

24 October, 2011 (13:22) | Community, Membership, Outreach | By: alan

Recent infographic by Mybroadband shows some improvement, we believe that now is the time that we will start to see major changes in the South African telecoms environment.

distribution of Internet users in SA

credit: MyBroadband

ICASA and DoC Succumb to Incumbents – Again

21 July, 2010 (22:56) | Membership, Policy, Press Release | By: alan

There is no doubt that the South African ICT industry has won several very important battles to bring meaningful Internet connectivity to our citizens. However they were often made despite the Minister of Communications and ICASA rather than because of them. A shining example of this is the Altech court case, which ruled against the late Minister of Communications Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri and which resulted in all value- added network services (VANS) licenses being converted to individual electronic communications network service (I-ECNS) licenses, effectively enabling hundreds of these companies to build and provide infrastructure rather than be forced to use Telkom or Neotel.

But it seems as though this was not a lesson that the Department of Communications or ICASA took to heart. Today we are appalled to see the new Minister and ICASA making the same mistake, once again, with the wireless spectrum licenses. The Invitations to apply (ITAs) for a portion of the licensed part of the wireless spectrum was published in the government gazette on 28 May 2010 – and the deadline to apply was subsequently extended to next Friday – but today the invitation was cancelled today. Undoubtedly this was due to pressure from the incumbents and – what we consider to be spurious – “technical reasons”. Whilst we recognise there are some challenges with the ITAs – especially the National ITA (for 2.6GHz) – we believe there were measures that could have be taken to mitigate the issues. With respect to the Regional ITA (for 3.5GHz) its’ cancellation (or delay) appears to be unjustified. We know that there are dozens of wireless ISPs struggling to compete with the previously advantaged licensees due to the lack of available licensed spectrum, and their chances of doing so have just been squashed.

While it seems that all parties are willing to pay lip service to the concept of “affordable Internet access for all” true political will has been tragically lacking. If only bringing affordable access to all, was taken as seriously by those in power as the 2010 World Cup. As a result, for the vast majority of South Africans, the Internet remains only a concept – still unaffordable and mysterious.

How can we ensure that government officials are not overwhelmed by vested commercial interests and make decisions in the interest of all citizens?

This decision by ICASA as supported, or perhaps even directed, by Minister Nyanda is a second example of policy changing at the last moment to the collective detriment of current and potential end-users of telecommunications services. In this case we think it unlikely that the smaller telecommunications players will be able to step up and shoulder the considerable legal costs in fighting this decision.

We are appalled but unfortunately not surprised at this action. It is consistent the government’s historic actions as well as the actions of the current Portfolio Committee. At our recent INET conference designed to educate policymakers on global best practice – convened at the request of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Communications – not a single committee member attended and only a single apology was tendered. Bearing in mind that ISOC-ZA stands for the present and future consumers, it is no wonder that ISOC-ZA Policy head, Paul Esselaar wryly remarked: “It is apparent that the Committee seems to think that the partisan comment and “education” delivered by the major commercial entities is sufficient to understand the complexities of spectrum. Unfortunately, as usual, it is consumers who are the losers in this.”

Please assist and send the pdf or .doc to your favourite journalist.

INET Cape Town – May 24 2010

21 May, 2010 (16:55) | Community, Events, Outreach, Policy | By: Alan

Video recordings of the sessions –
IRC – for chat and questions – server: (port 6667) – channel: #isoc
Twitter – tweet #inetct

Agenda – All welcome!

Jon McNerney – ISOC welcome
Chris Smith – ISOC access development
Alan Levin – What next?
Stefan Doeblin – Lessons learned
Steve Song – African undersea cables
J Scott Marcus – Regulatory models for Internet growth

INET conference – Cape Town – Monday 24 May

10 May, 2010 (17:37) | Events, Outreach | By: Alan

The Internet Society is pleased to announce INET Cape Town 2010, where experts and laymen will examine just what it will take to enable Internet access at much lower costs and at much higher speeds.

Since 1994, the Internet Society has organized INET conferences around the world. Originally staged as annual global conferences, over time it has refined their focus, targeting the specific needs of each region with a focus topics most relevant to the communities involved.

“ISOC-ZA recognises the need to address the state of wholesale Internet, subsequent to the introduction of competition in the sector. We believe that with competition, the sector has become more complex, but there is not yet a significantly marked reduction in pricing, nor is there a marked improvement in the quality nor quantity of people with Internet access,” explains Alan Levin, ISOC-ZA Chairman. “This is a clear case of ‘good enough’ is not good enough.” ISOC will examine the important role of open access to Internet infrastructure in order to bring affordable access to all South Africans.
Read more »

New website launched today

22 February, 2010 (12:07) | Community | By: Alan

We’ve been working on a adding a content management system for our website over the past few years, finally we’ve migrated all old content and moved the new site onto our primary URL –
Please send us any feedback and do please leave a comment on any posts you wish to.

Submission on .ZA Domain Name Authority Regulations

3 February, 2010 (14:04) | Policy | By: paul

On 01 February 2010 ISOC-ZA submitted its recommendations to the .ZA Domain Name Authority (.ZA DNA) on its recently published draft Registry and Registrar Regulations. These draft regulations set out the rules by which potential domain name registries and registrars will be governed.

Thank you to all of those ISOC-ZA policy list members who assisted with the drafting of the ISOC-ZA comments.

  1. Registry_Regulations_18_November_2009-final_draft_for_public_comment (MS Word – 165kb);
  2. Registrar_Regulations_18_November_2009-final_draft_for_public_comment (MS Word – 141kb);
  3. ISOC-ZADNAregssubmission (PDF – 152kb);

Committee plans for 2010

27 January, 2010 (08:26) | Events, Policy | By: bronwen

ISOC-ZA has a number of initiatives planned for 2010. The aim of the new committee is to encourage the public to become more active in the organisation and take responsibility for protecting their rights as Internet users. Read on for some initiatives that may interest you: Read more »

2010 Committee Announced

11 January, 2010 (10:33) | Events | By: paul

The new 2009/2010 ISOC-ZA committee was elected at the ISOC-ZA Annual General Meeting on the 27th October 2009 in terms of the new ISOC-ZA Constitution. They are:

  • Communications and Youth: Bronwen Kausch
  • Treasurer: Saul Stein
  • Policy: Paul Esselaar
  • Gauteng: Mohammed Ebrahim
  • Immediate past chair: Naresh Dajee
  • Chair: Alan Levin

The committee hopes to revitalise ISOC-ZA and has several exciting projects in the pipeline which we will publicise later in the year. Please feel free to contact us should you wish to assist (we are a voluntary organisation) or would like to find out more about what we do and why we do it.

Proposed update to constitution

6 September, 2007 (10:55) | Membership | By: Alan

After 9 years ISOC-ZA have recognised the strengths and pitfalls of our founding constitution. Now with over 800 members we have to make a few changes and enhancements in order to position to organisation for the future. Please see proposed changes to the constitution (download pdf-272kB, odt-32kB, doc-132kB)

AGM – 2007

5 September, 2007 (10:52) | Events, Membership | By: Alan

Download the list of Nominees here