April 16, 2012
WAPA is positioned to be an interface between the government regulator (ICASA), network operators, service providers and wireless consumers. Executing on its commitment to putting the focus on South Africa’s Wireless Internet Service Providers’ role in bringing true broadband to South Africa, WAPA announces its main objectives for 2012.
“Our focus will be to promote practical regulation of TV White Spaces by speaking at various conferences during the year,” states WAPA Chairperson Christopher Geerdts. “Among these initiatives, we will be looking out for (projects) to promote TVWS.”
WAPA plays a significant role in addressing wireless regulatory and spectrum issues in the country. WAPA’s aim to become an Industry Representative Body recognized under law by the regulator, enters its final stretch this year with Ziggy Heuer heading the project with the assistance of Ellipsis Regulatory Solutions, legal advisor to WAPA that also keeps members up to date with regulatory issues.
“Our website overhaul in 2011 has greatly increased visitor numbers and awareness of wireless internet service providers. The ‘Check Coverage’ and ‘Member Directory’ pages on the website allows South African citizens to look for wireless broadband coverage in their area. We receive an average of 300 unique visitors, and 3 queries for Internet connections daily. The traffic is constantly growing, proving how hungry South Africans are for broadband internet,” explains Deputy Chair, Mohammad Patel. ”In 2012, we will be focusing much energy on increasing WAPA’s public profile with the aid of press releases and a digital marketing strategy.”
WAPA’s treasurer for two years running, Abraham van der Merwe, is optimistic after a healthy 2011 financial year. Sponsorships and advertising from the many players, including the likes of Google, for various events, and a 20% membership growth in 2011, has helped to keep WAPA in the black.
Training sessions on wireless installation and high site best practices held in 2011 proved very popular with the members. WAPA aims to have online training in place by mid-year and has approached various institutions for discounted materials and courses to benefit its members.
A national operator approached WAPA in 2010 to discuss the possibility of its members providing connectivity outside the reach of its fiber network. A member was chosen to represent the average WAPA member in a proof-of-concept network. The project is on track with links currently being tested by this operator. This project holds great promise for the average South African business and consumer in that it is one of many that will bring even greater high-quality broadband coverage to our country.
Other goals for 2012 include working alongside our industry partner, ISPA.
WAPA is undergoing an overhaul in its administration, with the Executive Committee collaborating using the latest on-line tools. This is set to further accelerate productivity and member participation to benefit the South African public.