As much as 75% of telecommunications company Broadlink’s network in Gauteng is down after the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) raided the offices of parent Wireless Business Solutions (WBS) Holdings and apparently seized or unplugged equipment.
Icasa’s move on the company, which has been accused of failing to pay spectrum licence fees and of using illegal microwave links, has also led to downtime on the iBurst network. iBurst is also a subsidiary of WBS.
“I can’t say whether [Icasa has] simply disconnected equipment or actually taken core switches,” Brown says. Either way, Broadlink’s Gauteng services have been impaired by the move. “In the region of 75% of our Gauteng base is affected.”
Brown says the company is seeking an urgent high court interdict against Icasa and that getting its customers up and running again is its first priority.
“All other long-distance hauls are in order,” Brown says, adding that he expects the Gauteng network’s problems “to be resolved fairly shortly”.
“We’re working hard to ensure our customers get the service they expect, and we’re going to fight this,” he says.
Icasa claims WBS has been using as many as 1 200 illegal, unlicensed microwave links and that no fees have been paid for the use of spectrum used. WBS could, therefore, owe the regulator tens of millions of rands in arrears.
Earlier this year, Icasa councillor Joseph Lebooa, who had been tasked with regional oversight and enforcement, claimed he was hijacked, beaten and threatened by individuals he said warned him to drop attempts to prevent WBS from doing business because of unpaid licence fees.
WBS in turn laid a charge of crimen injuria against Lebooa.
Icasa was not immediately able to comment on Wednesday’s raid.– (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media