This is why fibre is expensive and being rolled out slowly in South Africa


Fibre-to-the-home installations are not happening as fast or as cheaply as they should, the FTTH Council Africa has said.


Broadband speed

A number of property developers and landlords are preventing fibre-to-the-home networks from being rolled out as quickly and cheaply as they should be.

That’s the word from Juanita Clark, CEO of FTTH Council Africa.

Clark said they have received reports of property developers and owners who have “convoluted” exclusivity agreements with network infrastructure providers.

These developers and landlords then prevent licensed companies from rolling out fibre in their estates, complexes, or buildings.

Such agreements are highly anti-competitive, said Clark.

She also said that denying access to network providers that are licensed by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa is against the law.

“[They] demonstrate flagrant disregard to the obligations and expectations of the Electronic Communications Act,” said Clark.

Digging up roads and pavements

Clark said that if landlords and developers work collaboratively with licensed service providers, it will be to the benefit of everyone involved.

Such cooperation begins with ensuring effective access to precincts, pavements, servitudes, and buildings.

This will ensure that networks are built well and rolled out with the least amount of disruption to residents.

Demands for revenue share a problem

Other property owners are pushing for wholesale and retail revenue share of telecommunications services terminated in their buildings or on their properties.

Clark said these demands could potentially add unnecessary layers of cost to communications service delivery in South Africa.

“This has ramifications for carrier interoperability, quality of service, licensing obligations, and the key tenets of open access,” said Clark.

The telecommunications industry is willing to pay reasonable once-off set-up and monthly fees for equipment space, power, and services rendered at market-related rates, said Clark.

However, property owners must accept that telecoms infrastructure is as critical to a business as water and electricity, and should be seen as a utility.

“Landlords and property developers should stick to their knitting and rather seek to enable their facilities in the most cost-effective way so that they not only attract good-quality tenants, but that they keep them satisfied over their term of their tenancy.”

“Telecommunications is as much a part of the modern office as coffee machines and water coolers.”

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