To implement the required protection measures, the Minister’s next task was to publish a set of draft regulations governing the Karoo Central AAAs, which she did in November 2015 with a comment deadline of 22 February 2016. On 20 April 2016, the commenting period was further extended by 60 days. These regulations address four main areas, namely spectrum regulations, administrative procedures, compensation and electromagnetic interference.
Schedule A: Spectrum regulations
These outline the restrictions and exemption of radio spectrum use and the restriction of transmissions that might cause an interference. In terms of the regulations:
- The use of the frequency spectrum from 100 MHz to 25.5 GHz will be restricted, subject to a prescribed assessment process. Existing operators between 100 MHz and 200 MHz will be able to continue operating.
- All existing and future frequency use and transmissions within the Karoo Central AAAs will have to be assessed.
- Permits will have to be obtained for permissible use.
- Essential radio communications services may apply for exemptions.
- Short range devices (SRDs), as defined by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) will be exempted for units with an output of less than 250mW.
- Any interferences that arise will be investigated on a case by case basis.
Schedule B: Administrative procedures
These determine the procedures and criteria for the exemption of frequency use, the assessment of transmissions to determine interference impact, and for the granting of permits by the management authority.
They also outline the technical specifications, report format and qualifications of the person who will do the assessments and include the requirements for classification of an essential service and any possible concessions.
Schedule C: Compensation
These prescribe procedures for applying for possible financial compensation, as provided for in the AGA Act read together with section 25 of the Constitution.
Schedule D: Electromagnetic interference
These provide for the restriction of electromagnetic interference caused by electrical infrastructure, including electricity generation and distribution and the use of electrical machinery and equipment within the AAA.
Electrical infrastructure with a power rating of less than 10 kVA and further than 6 km from an SKA protection corridor (see map) is exempted from the requirement to acquire and possess a permit unless a disturbance is caused. An assessment, as prescribed in the regulations, must be carried out before a permit can be granted.
A separation distance must be maintained between electrical infrastructure and protection corridors or a 20 km circle around the SKA Virtual Centre.