How the DA is hurting fibre-to-the-home in Pretoria

LazyLion

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So I suspect this has to do with the *MASSIVE* amounts of damage that these fibre installers do to the water pipes and electrical cables in the residential suburbs. We had constant outages and damage in the order of two or three incidents a week, when they were laying in our area (Ekurhuleni). And I suspect the costs of some of those repairs were pushed back onto the taxpayers creating an additional burden on already overstretched budgets. So this deposit goes some way to holding the fibre installers responsible to do the job more carefully and with less damage to infrastructure.
 

ToxicBunny

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So I suspect this has to do with the *MASSIVE* amounts of damage that these fibre installers do to the water pipes and electrical cables in the residential suburbs. We had constant outages and damage in the order of two or three incidents a week, when they were laying in our area (Ekurhuleni). And I suspect the costs of some of those repairs were pushed back onto the taxpayers creating an additional burden on already overstretched budgets. So this deposit goes some way to holding the fibre installers responsible to do the job more carefully and with less damage to infrastructure.
I remember when Vuma were trenching in our area.... 6 months of at least twice weekly issues in the area (not always in the same place)... the residents got VERY fed up.
 

Swa

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Seeing how Vumatel went about doing our area I don't have a problem with the deposits themselves but there should be a better way of calculating it. Nobody opens and closes trenches in a day and so rather a per km system and you can't dig where you haven't paid for.
 

pedruid

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Seeing how Vumatel went about doing our area I don't have a problem with the deposits themselves but there should be a better way of calculating it. Nobody opens and closes trenches in a day and so rather a per km system and you can't dig where you haven't paid for.
DFA trenched and laid a backhaul outside our fence in Main Road, Walmer in first half of last year. In doing so they broke up a concrete footpath and just walked away. NMBM stated publicly last year that they would compel all fibre contractors to carry out repairs. They did nothing. I complained to our Ward Councillor several times, with photos and it’s just been repaired. Don’t know whether it was DFA or NMBM.
 

Johnatan56

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If you need to apply for 20 wayleaves for one backhaul link, that cost can rack up very quickly. They've capped it at R3-million per year now, mercifully, but it is still a massive blow to your cash flow, with no indication from Tshwane what the process will be to get your money back.
https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/vumatel#section-overview
States e.g. Vumatel has a R100m revenue, a R3m cap should be okay for them. Smaller operators might be bit more difficult, but think if they can hit the scale of going up to R3m in roll-out wayleaves requirements, they should be able to afford the deposit.

The question in regards to returning the deposit is important though.
 

Jan

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So I suspect this has to do with the *MASSIVE* amounts of damage that these fibre installers do to the water pipes and electrical cables in the residential suburbs. We had constant outages and damage in the order of two or three incidents a week, when they were laying in our area (Ekurhuleni). And I suspect the costs of some of those repairs were pushed back onto the taxpayers creating an additional burden on already overstretched budgets. So this deposit goes some way to holding the fibre installers responsible to do the job more carefully and with less damage to infrastructure.
I remember when Vuma were trenching in our area.... 6 months of at least twice weekly issues in the area (not always in the same place)... the residents got VERY fed up.
This discussion is interesting to me because it demonstrates a fundamental difference in where people place value. I would accept any amount of temporary inconvenience so long as top-notch fibre infrastructure was available to me at the end of it.

I'd have to sit down and do the calculation, but off the cuff, I'd be willing to accept thousands of rands of damages that my tax money would have to cover in exchange for the many millions of rands of value that fibre adds.

That said, you also don't want contractors to play fast and loose. The benefit of wayleaves is that you know exactly who worked on a particular line where damage was caused. Fine those responsible, or sanction/ban them if they can't pay.

https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/vumatel#section-overview
States e.g. Vumatel has a R100m revenue, a R3m cap should be okay for them. Smaller operators might be bit more difficult, but think if they can hit the scale of going up to R3m in roll-out wayleaves requirements, they should be able to afford the deposit.

The question in regards to returning the deposit is important though.
Sure, but Vumatel is hardly the upstart network operator it was in 2014. In fact, it has overtaken Telkom as the largest FTTH operator in South Africa. Together with SA Digital Villages (a sister company via DFA), they now connect more FTTH clients than Telkom does.

There are other smaller players to consider, as well as the hypothetical "universalisability" question. What happens if all metros decide to do this? Now you have to float R3m per year per metro just for the privilege of trenching there.

Agreed on the last point.
 

ToxicBunny

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This discussion is interesting to me because it demonstrates a fundamental difference in where people place value. I would accept any amount of temporary inconvenience so long as top-notch fibre infrastructure was available to me at the end of it.

I'd have to sit down and do the calculation, but off the cuff, I'd be willing to accept thousands of rands of damages that my tax money would have to cover in exchange for the many millions of rands of value that fibre adds.


That said, you also don't want contractors to play fast and loose. The benefit of wayleaves is that you know exactly who worked on a particular line where damage was caused. Fine those responsible, or sanction/ban them if they can't pay.



Sure, but Vumatel is hardly the upstart network operator it was in 2014. In fact, it has overtaken Telkom as the largest FTTH operator in South Africa. Together with SA Digital Villages (a sister company via DFA), they now connect more FTTH clients than Telkom does.

There are other smaller players to consider, as well as the hypothetical "universalisability" question. What happens if all metros decide to do this? Now you have to float R3m per year per metro just for the privilege of trenching there.

Agreed on the last point.
Its a double edged sword really....

The cost of the damages is one aspect, that personally I was not to phased about. It was the lack of basic services for periods of up to 36 hours that was the issue. During the roll out I was without water 2 seperate times for a day due to the contractors damaging the mains, and then without electricity once. But it was a regular occurence for groups of houses to be without those basic services for periods of time during the rollout, and that is unacceptable.
 
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martin

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My experience seems to have been very different to others. MFN trenched a large part of our neighbourhood (Centurion suburb) during the past two weeks and I was pleasantly surprised by their contractors. Driveways (including my own) were repaired very quickly and professionally. A lot of my neighbours in the surrounding suburb belong to both a community Facebook group and another planning Facebook group that we used to coordinate fibre sign-ups in our area. I can recall only one complaint about the trenching between the two groups and it was attended to very swiftly once reported to MFN.
 
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Pitbull

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I have never seen anyone stop these guys and ask them if they have a permit. Dig mofos dig! Fark the Metro!
 
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Fibre contractors must be costing Tshwane a shyte load, no issue with the deposits in the slightest. Around here we had water off 2/3 days a week for about 2 months while they were busy accompanied by a deluge of mud through the pipes when it came back on, this took out 4 geysers in the complex. They also hit power cables 4 times and a backhaul fibre cable that took out a cell tower for 3 days. The streetlights are still down 6 weeks later after they dug through those...

many millions of rands of value that fibre adds.
Fibre doesn't add millions to anything but the operators bank balance.
 

elvis_presley

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Many times the infrastructure damage isn't the fault of the contractors - when you bury stuff in the ground you have to give plans back to the municipality so they can keep it on file so the next person that digs knows what to avoid. The plans returned are often so bad that they're digging where nothing is meant to be then hit something. It's impossible to dig a hole so carefully on that scale that you don't damage stuff you hit. The chap showed me the plans he was following of the water lines which he hit at least 3 times when doing our area, and they were indeed totally inaccurate.

I championed fiber in my area, so had to get all this info to placate the residents who were getting unhappy about the disruptions.

The day-long wayleaves I assume are a Tshwane thing? I know they're different and much longer here in KZN.
 

Apogee

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My experience seems to have been very different to others. MFN trenched a large part of our neighbourhood (Centurion suburb) during the past two weeks and I was pleasantly surprised by their contractors. Driveways (including my own) were repaired very quickly and professionally. A lot of my neighbours in the surrounding suburb belong to both a community Facebook group and another planning Facebook group that we used to coordinate fibre sign-ups in our area. I can recall only one complaint about the trenching between the two groups and it was attended to very swiftly once reported to MFN.
That is because Delitech IT Solutions is keeping an eye on the installations in Pierre van Ryneveld. :thumbsup:
 

supersunbird

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I have never seen anyone stop these guys and ask them if they have a permit. Dig mofos dig! Fark the Metro!
Come here and tell the residents that sat without power for 48 hours due to trenching for fibre that...
 

Jan

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But it was a regular occurence for groups of houses to be without those basic services for periods of time during the rollout, and that is unacceptable.
Agreed. I just don't think this is the solution.

My experience seems to have been very different to others. MFN trenched a large part of our neighbourhood (Centurion suburb) during the past two weeks and I was pleasantly surprised by their contractors. Driveways (including my own) were repaired very quickly and professionally. A lot of my neighbours in the surrounding suburb belong to both a community Facebook group and another planning Facebook group that we used to coordinate fibre sign-ups in our area. I can recall only one complaint about the trenching between the two groups and it was attended to very swiftly once reported to MFN.
Similar experience with Frogfoot. We had one or two complaints from older residents, but they were attended to speedily and professionally when raised with the site manager.

Fibre doesn't add millions to anything but the operators bank balance.
I guess that's one way to view it. Clearly you and I do not belong to the same church of economics.

I am happy to pay my ISP what I pay them for FTTH because I get far more value from the service than it costs me.

Many times the infrastructure damage isn't the fault of the contractors - when you bury stuff in the ground you have to give plans back to the municipality so they can keep it on file so the next person that digs knows what to avoid. The plans returned are often so bad that they're digging where nothing is meant to be then hit something. It's impossible to dig a hole so carefully on that scale that you don't damage stuff you hit. The chap showed me the plans he was following of the water lines which he hit at least 3 times when doing our area, and they were indeed totally inaccurate.
This is a good point. Very similar situation here in Tshwane. Water is meant to be at 600mm and electricity at 800mm or whatever, then the contractors dig and hit a pipe at 300mm. (Depths for illustrative purposes only --- not actual numbers)
 

ToxicBunny

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Agreed. I just don't think this is the solution.
Yeah, I'm not sure this is the solution either really... but somehow the fibre contractors need to sort this kark out somehow.
 
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ToxicBunny

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As an aside, what would be useful to "future" proof a city/suburb would be to uniformly lay down different piping for different services, and have maybe 150% spare capacity in the piping for future services and have some form of access system in place.

Granted by and large this exists for electricity/water and telephone... but somehow places need to be cognizant of the requirement for future capacity...

I would almost get to the point of saying water and electricity can be laid down in the normal fashion now, but there should be at least 2 addition 150mm piping conduits laid down with manhole access at set intervals etc.
 
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Johnatan56

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Similar experience with Frogfoot. We had one or two complaints from older residents, but they were attended to speedily and professionally when raised with the site manager.
The question is, why are the site managers not on-site to deal with the issues in regards to frogfoot? All other contractors site managers would constantly be doing the rounds, with FF it was rare to see.
 

Leno

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Another big concern is that Tshwane has introduced an annual per-kilometre fee for laying cables in the road reserve. For the year from July 2019 to June 2020, the fee is R211 per kilometre, per year.
I wonder if they will be charging telkom/openserve this fee also?
 

Swa

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Many times the infrastructure damage isn't the fault of the contractors - when you bury stuff in the ground you have to give plans back to the municipality so they can keep it on file so the next person that digs knows what to avoid. The plans returned are often so bad that they're digging where nothing is meant to be then hit something. It's impossible to dig a hole so carefully on that scale that you don't damage stuff you hit. The chap showed me the plans he was following of the water lines which he hit at least 3 times when doing our area, and they were indeed totally inaccurate.

I championed fiber in my area, so had to get all this info to placate the residents who were getting unhappy about the disruptions.

The day-long wayleaves I assume are a Tshwane thing? I know they're different and much longer here in KZN.
The irony is that Vumatel both hit pipes and cables and didn't lay the network as the planners indicated. So they are all responsible on both sides. I really don't understand how you can hit a pipe when you can see where it goes. It's not like it can just change direction or go from 600mm to 300mm and where there's a meter or pole you know something is nearby. But then common sense isn't so common is our country.
 

jouda

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We had both Vuma and SADV digging at roughly the same time and I can tell you that Vuma (in our case) was much much better than the plonkers doing the rollout for SADV.

Extra fees might just keep clowns like SADV away. I say fine them whenever they mess up. Strike 3 and you are you, rollout stopped.
 
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