“Open spectrum is important because access is important” says Steve Song, telecommunications fellow at the Shuttleworth Foundation in an interview with APCNews. But in South Africa, the problem is not lack of access – it’s that access is not affordable. Freeing up wireless spectrum, such as television white spaces —the space between channels— or making more information available on spectrum that is currently not in use could help to make affordable access a reality. Song is the author of a new country survey report commissioned by APC in which he explores how spectrum is currently managed in South Africa, and the barriers that are blocking availability.
Prior to 1994, spectrum in South Africa was managed by the state body responsible for its implementation. Thus broadcast spectrum was managed by the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and telecommunications spectrum managed by the state telecommunications provider, Telkom. This was generally uncontentious because, prior to the rise of mobile telecommunications and wireless broadband, the availability of spectrum significantly exceeded its demand.
On 4 November 2010, a fifteen year-old girl was gang-raped by two boys her age at a school east of Johannesburg. The rape happened in front of other students who filmed the incident on their mobile phones and then shared it with friends. Women’sNet APC’s partner in our Take Back the Tech! to end violence against women campaign calls on the National Prosecuting Authority to act against those involved.
APC Women and Inter Press Service Africa are co-hosting a media roundtable entitled ‘Click Against Violence: Taking 16 Days of Activism Online’ on November 17 in Johannesburg, to discuss online gender based violence and resources available to cover the issue. Find out how to participate
APC Women (www.apcwomen.org) and Inter Press Service Africa (www.ips.org/africa) are co-hosting a media roundtable entitled ‘Click Against Violence: Taking 16 Days of Activism Online’, to discuss online Gender Based Violence and resources available to cover the issue.
Two out of three gay South African respondents to an online survey said that going online had helped them accept their sexual orientation and many admitted to coming out online before they did so offline. But the voices of transgender people rarely appear in studies and surveys. To address the gap, APC EroTICs researcher Jeanne Prinsloo of the University of Grahamstown looks at the use of a transgender site which provides a critical space for trans people to lurk and listen to ideas and debates that are not present in mainstream sites, to rehearse their new identity and to assess the risks they might take. Image: “Gender Dynamix”:http://www.genderdynamix.co.za/
South African tech site, ITWeb, interviews APC’s Willie Currie on the forum being convened by APC and SANGONeT along with South Africa Connect and the Shuttleworth Foundation with the aim of drawing up a framework for a national broadband strategy.
Access to broadband is an imperative for the full expression of citizenship in today’s world. With affordable broadband, the enormous potential for socio-economic, cultural, and educational development in South Africa can be realised.