Making a community network legal within the South African regulatory framework
Tucker, William David
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Community networks often operate at the fringe of legality with respect to spectrum, network infrastructure and providing services. We have been involved with such a network in a rural community, and together with them, have devised a way to become legal within the South African regulatory framework. A not-for-profit co-operative was formed and successfully applied for license exemption to operate the network infrastructure and offer services. Revenue is used to sustain the network and can also be used for other community needs. The network has equipment that is not 100% type-approved, and operates at a higher output power than is allowed. However, we have a simple plan to comply with such regulations. This paper offers our experience as a precedent for how to go about making a community network completely legal in South Africa and other countries that have a similar regulatory environment.