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JIS News

The Spectrum Management Authority (SMA) is engaged in a public education campaign to make citizens more aware of the licensing guidelines and requirements for using radio frequency (RF) in Jamaica.

“We want persons to be more aware of the wireless frequency and radio broadcasting in Jamaica. The technology landscape has changed, so now anyone with a transmitter can broadcast on a frequency. Without proper guidelines or licensing, this may pose a risk to communication. For example, someone could be broadcasting a party at Lime Cay and it interferes with air traffic,” Managing Director for the SMA, Maria Myers-Hamilton, told JIS News.

She noted that under the Telecommunications Act 2000, all operators who wish to use the radio frequency spectrum must either be authorised by, or obtain a licence from the SMA to use the spectrum.

“We are the regulators who manage the radio frequency for the country. Once a case of interference has been reported, the SMA seeks to identify the source and impose the appropriate remedial action to achieve compliance,” Dr. Myers-Hamilton said.

As it relates to the importation of devices that use RF, authorisation may be given where persons import Family Radio Service (FRS) and or General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) (e.g. walkie-talkie radios) operating with dual frequency bands.

“The layperson bringing in a walkie-talkie should know that when they get a Detention Notice from the Jamaica Customs Agency it’s not a bad thing, because the notice serves to bring this item to our awareness to ensure that the device will not interfere with other RF users,” Dr. Myers-Hamilton said.

The C-87 Entry and Detention Notice are issued by the Customs Authority at the port of entry. Individuals importing walkie-talkies are required to submit technical information on the item along with the C-87 Form and Detention Notice.

The SMA has enforcement powers to include, inter alia, the imposition of fixed penalties and the issuance of Orders.

“The SMA’s objective is to preserve the spectrum rights of all existing legitimate users and we want to ensure that persons are aware of this,” Dr. Myers- Hamilton said.

Under the campaign, the SMA has rolled out a series of communication efforts, including but not limited to social media engagement, billboard advertisements, radio and TV public service announcements and town hall meetings.

Persons/entity wishing to obtain a licence or broadcast authorisation must contact the SMA or visit its website at www.sma.gov.jm.

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