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Starlink is illegal in South Africa

by Staff reporter
29 Nov 2023 at 12:20hrs | Views
South Africa's Telecommunications industry regulator Icasa has warned that using or providing access to SpaceX's Starlink services in South Africa is illegal.

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) issued its warning through an official notice published in the Government Gazette on Tuesday.

It was signed by acting chairperson Yolisa Kedama.

"The Authority, as a creature of statute, has a responsibility to protect its licensees and consumers by ensuring that there is fair participation and
competition in the market," the notice stated.

Icasa said any provision of broadcasting and electronic communications services without the necessary service and radio frequency spectrum licences is a direct contravention of the Electronic Communications Act.

It warned that the Icasa Act of 2000 stipulates that anyone who provides a service without a licence or without registering as required is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of up to R5,000,000 or 10% of annual turnover — whichever is greater.

This fine is levied for every day or part thereof during which the offence continued.

Icasa also warned that the ECA stipulates no person may possess, use, supply, sell, offer for sale, lease or hire any type of electronic communications equipment or electronic communication facility, including radio apparatus, unless it has been type-approved.

The regulator encouraged the public to avoid buying or operating equipment like Starlink's, which has not been properly licensed or type-approved.

"Non-type-approved equipment poses a risk of causing harmful interference to the radio frequency spectrum," Icasa stated.

"It further causes a lack of dissonance among devices operating in the same environment resulting in equipment not being functional," the regulator continued.

"Furthermore, equipment which is not type-approved could potentially explode or implode thus putting consumers in harm's way."

Icasa said the only Starlink equipment that has been type-approved in South Africa is its Ka-band and V3 Earth Station Gateways, and its router.

Its dish antennas do not appear to have received type approval.

The regulator provided the following table summarising the Starlink equipment that has been type-approved in South Africa.

Source - mybroadband