Reminder On The Use Of Unlicensed Telecommunications Equipment

Earlier this year St Helena Government notified the public that using terminals, such as Starlink, for the purposes of internet connectivity is in contravention of the exclusivity of current telecommunications licensing arrangements made under section 3(4) of the Telecommunications Ordinance 1989.

SHG recognises the importance to the public and businesses of fast, affordable and reliable internet. In July, SHG committed to providing the wider public with access to the fibre optic cable ahead of the scheduled January 2024 switchover. Since 01 October 2023 the domestic Island network has been connected to the Equiano cable, extending a number of benefits to the community. This has resulted in significant improvements to the telecommunications service provided by Sure South Atlantic (Sure), improving the offering to their customers in terms of both cost and scope of service provided. It has opened new possibilities for the community in how we interact with each other, the outside world and conduct business, with the benefits of this already being felt.

A grace period was provided to allow persons using unlicensed apparatus the opportunity to make alternative arrangements.

Since then, new Regulations have been drafted under the Telecommunications Ordinance 1989 and approved by the Executive Council. Whilst it has always been an offence to use certain telecommunications equipment without a licence, the new Regulations provide SHG with appropriate powers to enforce this.

Given the significant improvements in internet services since 01 October 2023, in both price and offering, we are pleased to note that voluntary compliance with the rules and regulations in place has been encouraging.

However, measures to enforce licensing provisions will be deployed if non-compliance is observed. This could result in confiscation of equipment and prosecution of individuals. Anyone that might be using unlicensed apparatus is therefore encouraged to cease use of such apparatus.

We are grateful for continued compliance with the provisions of the law, and wish to avoid needing to deploy enforcement measures where possible.

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SHG

06 December 2023

St Helena Government Communications Hub

Telephone: 22470
Email: kimberley.peters@sainthelena.gov.sh