The Ekurhuleni metropolitan municipality has lifted its nearly two-month-long moratorium on the installation of new fibre-optic telecommunications infrastructure in the vast East Rand region of Gauteng.
Industry body, the FTTH Council Africa, which had threatened court action against the municipality against the decision to bar operators from extending fibre networks in the region, has welcomed the news that the moratorium has been lifted.
Ekurhuleni chief information officer Lilian Phahla told TechCentral in March that the moratorium was always meant to be a temporary measure to allow it to audit all of the fibre in the ground in the region to prevent duplication of infrastructure.
The FTTH Council warned it would take the matter to court as its members were being prevented from continuing with work to build fibre infrastructure in the municapility, which includes towns such as Benoni, Brakpan, Springs, Kempton Park and Boksburg.
Council president Richard Came says the body welcomes the decision but maintains its view that “imposing a unilateral moratorium is at no time a solution to resolving internal issues”.
“Over the past five years, the private sector has invested billions of rand in building fibre-optic telecoms infrastructure,” says Came. “This level of investment will not continue if telecoms operators and contractors continue to experience unpredictable and inconsistent application of policy and legislation.”
Came says that if SA is going to arrest the decline in its competitiveness in information and communications technology compared to other African markets, “alignment between the private and public sector is a prerequisite”.
“The FTTH Council Africa has always played a facilitative role between government and industry, in order that both understand each other’s requirements and attempt to reach consensus on matters that are not clearly legislated. We will do so again if asked by Ekurhuleni metropolitan municipality if it means we can remove potential barriers between parties.” — (c) 2012 NewsCentral Media