Broadband Infrastructure

South Africa: Telkom Accused Of Illegally Using Competitor’s Fibre Infrastructure

As reported in recent news, it has been discovered that Telkom and Openserve, a subsidiary of Telkom, has been illegally using the network infrastructure of their competitors to provide fibre broadband services.

The discovery came about during a recent R30 million (just above US$ 2 million) fibre optic cable network upgrade in Midstream Estate. According to the report, Bondev was the registered supplier for installing and maintaining a telecommunications network of which a set of sleeves were handed to Telkom.  Later, Bondev entered into a long-term agreement with Supersonic, an MTN subsidiary, to use the primary sleeves and kiosks to install fibre and provide broadband services.  It was later discovered that Telkom/Openserve was unlawfully using the Bondev sleeve network and booths to provide services.

Responding to the allegations, Telkom said Openserve has the most extensive fibre infrastructure in South Africa, therefore, would not require occupying other operator’s infrastructure without an agreement. Telkom also said that Openserve has legal access to roll out fibre infrastructure in Midstream Estate and that Openserve has its channels in the Estate.  

To resolve the situations, Telkom explained that due to insufficient identification of channels, operators laid infrastructure in the wrong ducts; however, they highlighted that there is an agreement with Midstream Estate to correct the raised issue within seven days.

In parallel, Telkom has launched a legal challenge against Vodacom for unlawfully using Telkom infrastructure in the Dennegeur Residential Estate.  Vodacom has asked Telkom to share underground connections, of which Telkom declined, stating that it was not obliged to share its infrastructure.

Vodacom then filed a complaint with the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) regarding Telkom’s unwillingness to share.  ICASA ruled that sharing of infrastructure was technically and feasible, and it promoted the efficient use of network services.

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