MTN South Africa said on Thursday that it has completed a major network upgrade in the greater Durban area, which it started 18 months ago, while addressing criticism from some residents of the city about the way it has managed the roll-out.
The company’s chief technology and information officer Giovanni Chiarelli said in a statement that it entered into an infrastructure sharing agreement with the eThekwini municipality’s disaster management and emergency control unit to utilise its camera poles to provide enhanced coverage.
Use of those poles has, however, attracted criticism from some Durban residents.
“The infrastructure sharing agreement commenced in 2010 and is no different to other sharing agreements MTN and other third parties have with one another to share infrastructure. The aim is to alleviate the need for more structures in close proximity to one another, which then becomes unsightly,” said Chiarelli.
The city’s emergency control unit is also in the process of rolling out a big upgrade to its closed-circuit television camera systems, which includes number plate recognition. “This project is in line with the municipal integrated development programme, which includes creating a safe city, as well as the new smart city objective,” MTN said.
eThekwini operates the camera poles on its land and manages the entire process. MTN in turn utilises the poles to install its radio equipment.
In some instances, MTN installed its radio equipment prior to the city installing its CCTV cameras due to lack of stock of the cameras.
“This unfortunately has led to an incorrect perception of the general public to believe that the … camera poles were only for cell towers. eThekwini disaster management have now confirmed that they have stock of the CCTV cameras and will be installing them on their camera poles,” said Chiarelli.
MTN pays rent to the municipality to use the camera poles. The financial reward assists eThekwini disaster management with the cost of the CCTV system, he added.
He also dismissed suggestions that the sites could compromise people’s health through harmful electromagnetic radiation. He said MTN complies with all standards in this regard, including World Health Organisation guidelines, to ensure people aren’t exposed to unhealthy levels of radiation. — (c) 2017 NewsCentral Media