Red tape stopping the blue light!

Delays to Fibre Optic Project.

Since the last newsletter in October there has been some progress (albeit at a snail’s pace) with this project which the CRRA helped to initiate in December 2013. Craig Carthy, a director of Link Africa, gave an overview of FTTH at our AGM in October as well as an update of the processes that have been completed with the City or still needed to be resolved:-

The technical investigation is complete
Payments have been made by Link Africa
The legal agreement with the City has been one
Input was received from the City’s 24 sub-councils – this was one of the causes of delays as many of the councillors had questions regarding the process.

Public participation process: At their December meeting, full Council gave the go-ahead for the formal Public Participation (this PPP was required despite the Constantia Fibre project team having conducted a private survey where 2000 residents were in support)

The PPP process ended on 11 February and by all accounts there was overwhelming support. The City Director for Information Systems has informed us that the report on the PPP now has to be presented to several committees (including the Mayoral committee) before going to full Council again on the 31st March for final approval.

The process described above only applies to the installation of fibre where existing sewer and storm water reticulation systems are used. Some of the fibre is in traditional trenches and Link Africa have been actively busy with this, however again permits (called way leaves) are required from the City to excavate in public property – another red tape delay.

The latest information from Link Africa is that they have received some permits (there is a backlog of processing due to the December shutdown and many of the way leaves approved late last year expired and had to be renewed but at least it is now beginning to flow. They will issue another schedule showing the revised anticipated dates that the fibre will be installed.

Of interest is that Link Africa were recently awarded the Frost and Sullivan Awards for Cutting edge Technology in Telecoms Infrastructure for their innovative methods of deploying fibre optic networks in existing sewers and storm networks, but in spite of that they have encountered more red tape in Cape Town than in any other city.

– Source: Constantia Ratepayers and Residents Association  (CRRA)

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