Lack of planning

Mike Barrett, Constantia

The laying of fibre-optic cables in Constantia, and specifically Duckitt Avenue and Silverhurst Drive, leaves much to be desired.

There is clearly a lack of planning by both the City council and the fibre-optic service providers. What I fail to understand is why every service provider needs to dig up verges for the umpteenth time. Surely there should have been a plan from the outset for one pipe to be laid for all service providers to use.

This would have been cheaper and prevented property owners from suffering the inconvenience of having their verges dug up again.

I happened to speak to the contractor laying the cable and was informed that they were the very same contractors who had laid cables in the exact same place for another service provider.

The blame lies squarely with the City council, and, unfortunately, it is the end user who is going to have to foot the bill for this inefficiency and lack of planning.

* Brett Herron, mayoral committee member for transport and urban development, responds:

The City of Cape Town is not responsible for the planning, design and implementation of fibre-optic networks for the various ICASA (Independent Communications Authority of SA) electronic communications network licensees. We do, however, plan, design and implement our own fibre-optic networks.

The City has recently compiled and issued a standard process and specifications to network licensees on the installation of telecommunication services in road
reserves. This
document serves to address the inconsistency in the standard of workmanship between the various network licensees when installing these services.

The City met with the telecommunications providers and highlighted the fact that their lack of sharing cooperation is not only compromising our infrastructure, but is seriously inconveniencing businesses and our ratepayers. It appears, however, that each service provider prefers to the install their own infrastructure and make use of the provision in the law which allows them unfettered access into the public road reserves.

In our efforts to regulate the works of some 18 service providers in the city, we enforced the new processes and specifications only to see a service provider taking the City to court claiming that we cannot interfere with their works.

The City is opposing this view strongly and, depending on the outcome of the court case, we will introduce regulating measures to coordinate telecommunications service providers better and minimise the disruption to the

The City encourages network licensees to co-build and trench-share wherever possible, but this subject to each network licensee’s own business models and roll-out plan.

The various network licensees are required to obtain wayleaves from affected service authorities as well as a permit to work within the City of Cape Town’s road reserves.