General FAQ (22)
A: WAPA stands for Wireless Access Providers Association and is an association that is dedicated to governing the responsible use of wireless technology in South Africa.
A: At present members of WAPA consists of two categories:
1. Providers of wireless access services.
2. Wireless equipment providers.
A: Currently there are private e-mail lists for members of WAPA.
A: At present the regulatory environment is a bit of a minefield and quick and easy answers not easy to come by. WAPA does require that full members have some form of telecommunications licence. There is provision for probationary members to join if they can demonstrate that applications have been made for licencing. WAPA members represent the largest operators in the industry and the collective wealth of knowledge on regulatory issues and licencing is available to members. If you require in depth advice on particular licencing issues and how to go about applying for licences, we can refer you to professional organisations that provide this kind of service for WAPA and its members.
A: WAPA is an industry representative body that is registered as a not for profit entity and is currently applying for formal recognition as an industry representative body with ICASA and the DOC.
A: WAPA membership fees are R 500 per month.
A: If you want to pay one year in advance we charge R 5 500 for the year.
A: Debit order or pay one year in advance.
A: A course is being developed to provide wireless best practices training to engineers and technical organisations.
A: WAPA membership is open world-wide.
A: WAPA has established relationships with equipment vendors and can provide advice on what technology and systems to use when starting a WISP.
A: Part of the role of WAPA is to ensure that its members are compliant with all regulations and good practices that ultimately protect the customer. Ask if your WISP is a member of WAPA.
A: WAPA only deals with complaints laid against members and tries to resolve those complaints internally. All complaints laid against non-members are referred to ICASA.
A: Amping is frowned upon and not allowed in the WAPA code of conduct. There are two reasons for this.
First and foremost, amping could mean that you could exceed ICASA’s
maximum allowed outputs for a frequency. WAPA suggests you always adhere
to ICASA’s maximum outputs.
Secondly for optimum wireless performance you should never use an amp on
a wireless high site or on your client side. The reason for this is an
amp not only amplifies the signal but also all the noise. Outputs should
be equal on both sides. Many a WISP has learned the hard way that amps
causes more problems than solutions.
Q: I run a very small company, only interested in servicing a very localized area. I am planning to charge very little for my WISP service and I can only connect 10 clients from my high-site, so my income will be less than R3000/m. I cannot afford to pay the full WAPA membership fees, can you give me a discount?
A: WAPA’s main objective is to legalize the industry with the focus on creating a sustainable environment for all our members. With such a small budget it will be very difficult, if not impossible to comply with the legal requirements of being a WISP. We would encourage you to run your business at a big enough scale or try and partner with an existing WAPA member in your area. We cannot give you a discounted membership fee.
A: In general, WAPA does not offer advice on how to start a wireless ISP business.
WAPA’s website contains our code of conduct which will give you an idea on the legal requirements of running an network.
The first thing to know is that you will need an ECS license or ECNS license from ICASA.
The best place to ask for advice on building a network would be at an equipment vendor. Maybe visit one of the equipment vendors on our members page and have a chat with them about starting a wireless network.
Q: What is the difference between a VANS and PTN License and will I be required to apply for both? Is there anything I have to be aware of when filling in these applications?
A: In easy terms: a VANS is a licence which allows the holder to run value-added services over a network. A typical example would be where an ISP leases lines from Telkom and offers Internet services to customers over these. Although this is subject to debate it is generally believed that VANS are entitled to install their own network infrastructure (which is part of the typical WISP model where the last mile access links are provided over the ISP’s own infrastructure.
A PTN (Private Telecommunication Network) licence is simply one which allows the holder to establish a closed network between its own offices or branches. A typical example would be where a bank obtains links from a service provider which are dedicated to providing a network between its own branches around the country.
If you are planning to operate a WISP you will generally not require a PTN but a VANS is essential.
Note: Please bear in mind that VANS and PTNs as licence types will soon disappear – ICASA is planning to convert licences and establish the new licence categories under the Electronic Communications Act in November 2008.
Q: I require in depth advice on particular licencing issues and how to go about applying for licences. Can you help with this process?
Yes, WAPA offers a service to new members helping them with the licencing process. This is covered by a joining fee of R3 500 (excl VAT), which includes assisting you with your submission to ICASA and following up on your behalf till you have been issued the licences.
For more info, please contact us at email@example.com or find the application form on the Join WAPA page.
Q: Hi lost my broadband internet,there are no internet in the area,could i access a access point and how would i know if there is one in my area to log on to.Where is the map for these checks.
WAPA does not have a central coverage map. We have a coverage area list which each member maintains on our wiki. Have a look at our member list page or fill in the WAPA contact for with the area you need service in.
A: WAPA is in the process of improving it’s consumer complaints process, but you can complete the contact form on the WAPA website with your complaint at the moment.
Please check that your provider is a WAPA member… then look at the WAPA Constitution and Code of Conduct to see your provider is complying with these documents.
Q: I am investigating starting up a WISP in my region. Most of the business case is modelled on Canadian figures. Can WAPA benefit me?
A: Yes. The WAPA community mailing lists are a very good resource for WISPs. You will benefit from legal advice, industry knowledge and shared experience.
Get a VANS license from the start.
As part of the WAPA collective we can self regulate our industry in matters of frequency spectrum management and member or non-member complaints processes.
Q: Hi there, I would like to find out if I need a license to install wireless equipment, I have I client witch has 3 offices in the same town and would like to link them via wireless network. Is this legal or not
A: My first question would be.. do you want to run a network infrastructure company (ECNS) ?
In my personal opinion you should get a WISP to build the links for you or you should get a VANS license if you want to do it yourself.
If you cannot find what you are looking for please contact us.