Pay-TV licensees named

Kimberly Guest
By Kimberly Guest, ITWeb contributor
Johannesburg, 12 Sept 2007

Five companies - Walking on Water, On Digital Media, e-SAT, Telkom Media and MultiChoice Africa - have been awarded pay-TV licences.

This morning's announcement by the Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA) follows three years of discussion, investigation and evaluation of the pay-TV market.

Initially, 18 companies applied for the broadcasting licence, with three companies - Sentech, Worldspace and Multichannel TV - subsequently withdrawing their applications. ICASA revealed that Sentech was a last-minute withdrawal - removing its application on Monday, 10 September.

"The Authority decided to refuse applications from all 10 remaining applicants," said ICASA councillor Zolisa Masiza.

ICASA chairman Paris Mashile outlined the regulator's aims for the pay-TV competition.

"[We wanted to] ensure broadcasting services are provided from a diverse range of communities in SA; promote empowerment of historically-disadvantaged persons and ensure broad-based black economic empowerment; address poverty alleviation; encourage economic growth and investment; develop programmes to address the dual economy; ensure job creation; liberalise the sector; ensure access and affordability of services; and guarantee a higher and wider customer satisfaction index," he said.

The regulator will start discussions on the terms and conditions of these licences on 1 October.

It hopes to have completed this process by mid-November for the smaller players, and end November for the large players.

However, Masiza noted this would be dependent on the number of applications for extensions from the licensees.

The 560-page reasons document is expected to be released in about three weeks.

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ICASA to name pay-TV licensees
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Pay-TV to proceed