Communications regulator Icasa has imposed new universal service obligations on mobile broadband operator Rain after it was awarded access to spectrum in the coveted 1.8GHz band.
Rain must now provide connectivity to 63 community education and training colleges (CETs) and 54 community learning centres (CLCs), allocated by Icasa, over a period of three years. The company must also offer Wi-Fi hotspots for public access within each of the CET sites.
The details of the new obligations are contained in a recent Government Gazette.Rain will be fined R1-million/month if it fails to comply with the rules
The connectivity provided by Rain must be at a speed of no less than 20Mbit/s (capped at 100GB per month per site) and Rain must provide hardware and installation to all CET sites. Rain must bear the setup costs, as well as the support and maintenance costs of software and hardware for the duration of the service licence.
It must also provide connectivity to the CETs and CLCs free of charge in the first year, and at discounted rates thereafter. Rain will be responsible for charging the public directly, at a discounted rate, for use of the Wi-Fi hotspots and for the administration thereof.
According to Icasa, Rain must report back twice a year on the number of CET and CLC sites connected, the type of technology used and the number of faults experienced.
Rain will be fined R1-million if it fails to comply with the rules – and these fines will continue monthly at R1-million a pop until any problems are rectified.
Similar regulatory amendments are being proposed for Sentech, Icasa said.