Date: Tue, 17 Feb 2009 16:57:25
Subject: Challenges SOUTH AFRICA VILLAGE TELCO regulator takes down equipment
On Friday and yesterday the South African Regulator (ICASA), confiscated
our equipment. Our equipment consists of some Ubiquity Nanos and some
flashed Linksys WRT's. These were confiscated from a low cost area
where we were doing our tests on the village telco.
The reason seems to be that the 2.4 ISM unlicensed band is not in fact
unlicensed, I do not have this in writing but the regulator told me
that Telkom www.telkom.co.za (our landline operator) complained about
interference and hence the action.
Hopefully Steve can clarify some of the issues around 2.4 in South Africa.
It seems that the powers that be are maybe not so keen on the concept of
a village telco, or low cost telephony and data for the poor.
What is also quite disturbing is that we were not given any time to
discuss this or put our case forward.
This was also our pre-potato implementation. However the potatoes would
have also been confiscated as they are 2.4 equip.
It is an irony that the real challenges we will face are not technical,
economic or social, but from the very governments who are trying to
"help" develop nations through ICT.
I will keep you posted and hopefully your support can help us get the
In the DR people don't believe in government, they have been mostly burned so much that they will try to solve their own problems and every so often a candidate comes trough making lots of promises to get elected, only to burn them after they get elected. I guess SA also that way. So perhaps government is like any other company, self interested in its own survival more then serving the people.
Sometimes they only get in the way.