Telkom and Vodacom clash over estate fibre networks

Bradley Prior

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Telkom and Vodacom clash over estate fibre networks

Telkom is fighting back after a Supreme Court of Appeal ruling in April which allows Vodacom and potentially other operators to use certain Telkom ducts and sleeves to roll out fibre networks.

The legal battle focuses on Vodacom using Telkom’s ADSL and phone line ducts in Dennegeur, a residential estate in Somerset West, to roll out a fibre network.
 

Hummercellc

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Short sighted Telkom as usual,
Telkom think they own the country, they make use of peoples property as they please.
Yet everyone else needs to apply for permission?
Sharing is in everyone's best interest.
It is a two way street, let Telkom use others ducts and wayleaves, and in turn others use Telkom's ducts and wayleaves.
The Dinosaur trying to retain their monopoly on the market, which will only solidify their imminent demise.
 

Gemsbok

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Telkom and Vodacom clash over estate fibre networks

Telkom is fighting back after a Supreme Court of Appeal ruling in April which allows Vodacom and potentially other operators to use certain Telkom ducts and sleeves to roll out fibre networks.

The legal battle focuses on Vodacom using Telkom’s ADSL and phone line ducts in Dennegeur, a residential estate in Somerset West, to roll out a fibre network.
Telkom should stop fighting the opposition in courts. The only way to beat the competition is with service, product and price like all other companies.
For far to long Telkom was protected and had the monopoly.
Come Telkom, my area are desparetly waiting for Fibre but you are non-existent.
 

quovadis

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Telkom should stop fighting the opposition in courts. The only way to beat the competition is with service, product and price like all other companies.
For far to long Telkom was protected and had the monopoly.
Come Telkom, my area are desparetly waiting for Fibre but you are non-existent.
Maybe Telkom is waiting for Vodacom to invest in infrastructure in your area so that they can shove their fibre into Vodacom's infrastructure to then compete with service, product and pricing. Ask yourself the following - if the majority of cost in rolling infrastructure is the conduit and then that could be hijacked by a competitor then why would anyone want to be the first to service your area?
 

pedruid

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As was done in the UK, a law should have been passed compelling Telkom to allow unobstructed access to their ducts.
 

Polymathic

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Don't see how Telkom can complain, they don't own the property. Telkom not paying rent on the property that the ducts are on.
 

Adil k

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Im in agreement with Telkom, We have the same issue at our complex in Ferndale called Brushwood.
The issue is that vodacom deals are not competitive. Why should we pay R1000 for a 20mb line when we can have a Vumatel line for 700 odd rands. Vodacom refuses to allow other providers to install infrastructure but telkom does.
 

quovadis

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Don't see how Telkom can complain, they don't own the property. Telkom not paying rent on the property that the ducts are on.
It's more complicated than a property rights issue. It's the basis for any form of infrastructure which is put in place. It's not a stretch of the imagination then to demand access to free conduit in DFA's conduit nationwide to compete with them.
 
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quovadis

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As was done in the UK, a law should have been passed compelling Telkom to allow unobstructed access to their ducts.
It is also legislated the same in SA but like the UK the parties have to reach a commercial obligated agreement to do so. You can't open a manhole then shove your cable down a conduit because "there is air" in the conduit - the parties have to come to an agreement before hand.
 
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eddief1

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Am I failing to understand this correctly?

* The HOA owns the ducts, the HOA paid for them and laid them within the estate
* Telkom used the HOA ducts now wants to stop other operators from doing the same?

I can totally understand if Openserv paid for and laid the ducts in the estate, then I agree they own them. but isn't the crux that the HOA owns these ducts? Why has openserv even got any say in this?
 
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quovadis

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Am I failing to understand this correctly?

* The HOA owns the ducts, the HOA paid for them and laid them within the estate
* Telkom used the HOA ducts now wants to stop other operators from doing the same?

I can totally understand if Openserv paid for and laid the ducts in the estate, then I agree they own them. but isn't the crux that the HOA owns these ducts? Why has openserv even got any say in this?
From my understanding the material, specification and overseeing of the project was that of Telkoms. The specification included Telkom's own future use/capacity which now is no longer due to the capacity being "acquired" by Vodacom. In addition, the maintenance of those ducts was Telkoms responsibility and not those of the HOA and has been over time. It's not as straight forward as a property rights issue as Telkom had an expectation that the original ducting was for their exclusive use.
 
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quovadis

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Just to add to the more general discussion. There are many examples of estates which have granted exclusivity to fibre providers in exchange for the rollout of such infrastructure to be at the cost of fibre provider. Most of those agreements are heading to maturity in the next few years and I imagine the exact same arguments for those seeking to gain access to the estate and the rights of the incumbent will be at the forefront of many court battles especially as I highly doubt that such contracts made provision for ownership of the infrastructure to pass to the estates or that said infrastructure could or would be shared with competitors.
 
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dunkyd

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Wonder what will happen in our estate.....imagine having 6 cables ( 3 each side of road) on poles like has happened in Orange Grove...
 

Swa

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Am I failing to understand this correctly?

* The HOA owns the ducts, the HOA paid for them and laid them within the estate
* Telkom used the HOA ducts now wants to stop other operators from doing the same?

I can totally understand if Openserv paid for and laid the ducts in the estate, then I agree they own them. but isn't the crux that the HOA owns these ducts? Why has openserv even got any say in this?
It is a ridiculous situation on Telkom's part. If the HOA owns the ducts then there must be some contractual or general understanding that this would be the case. Otherwise the court would not have made such a ruling.
 

quovadis

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It is a ridiculous situation on Telkom's part. If the HOA owns the ducts then there must be some contractual or general understanding that this would be the case. Otherwise the court would not have made such a ruling.
As I've learned until such a time as all legal avenues have been exhausted and the actual court order relates to the actual core problem anything is possible. I would imagine though in the interim where ambiguity exists the new infrastructure rollouts will be limited in capacity and ironclad where exclusivity is required.
 

pedruid

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From my understanding the material, specification and overseeing of the project was that of Telkoms. The specification included Telkom's own future use/capacity which now is no longer due to the capacity being "acquired" by Vodacom. In addition, the maintenance of those ducts was Telkoms responsibility and not those of the HOA and has been over time. It's not as straight forward as a property rights issue as Telkom had an expectation that the original ducting was for their exclusive use.
Vox/Frogfoot is currently laying fibre as far as the entrance to our retirement village and i would like to have it installed in my cottage and replace my Telkom ADSL. as far as i can see Telom enters the village by means of cement fibre pipes at three points in the village and my line is taken from a manhole about 20 m from my cottage. These lines are more than 30 years old and the last Openserve Techie who attended to my neighours line said that the cable was very brittle. Will Frogfoot be restricted from using these ducts. Telkom has no fibre presence in the area. if any PE Forum members read this I'm located on the other side of Main road to Walmer Shopping Mall.
 

quovadis

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Vox/Frogfoot is currently laying fibre as far as the entrance to our retirement village and i would like to have it installed in my cottage and replace my Telkom ADSL. as far as i can see Telom enters the village by means of cement fibre pipes at three points in the village and my line is taken from a manhole about 20 m from my cottage. These lines are more than 30 years old and the last Openserve Techie who attended to my neighours line said that the cable was very brittle. Will Frogfoot be restricted from using these ducts. Telkom has no fibre presence in the area. if any PE Forum members read this I'm located on the other side of Main road to Walmer Shopping Mall.
It's best to speak to Frogfoot and enquire as usually any provider will have a plan in place before implementation. I would imagine that any Telkom infrastructure would be restricted and any damage to it would be for the party responsible however you may find that the manholes may be for access to general infrastructure not exclusive to Telkom. Where any fibre provider cannot utilise existing infrastructure they will, almost always, trench their own.

My own experience within my estate was that as we could prove the infrastructure was put in place independently, we were able to have Telkom and another providers infrastructure installed with the exception of the street access (point of entry into the estate) separate for each provider. My estate though was established much more recently than yours though.
 

deweyzeph

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While I agree that it's crazy that Telkom claims exclusivity over ducts that are on a third-party's property, there's nothing stopping Vodacom or any other fibre provider from simply installing their own ducts in parallel or via any other convenient location into the estate. Surely that would have been a hell of a lot cheaper than taking Telkom to court. Or maybe Vodacom is purposely looking at using this as a test case for all future rollouts.

We're facing a similar problem in our area but with Telkom's poles. We want to get fibre into our neighbourhood in Cape Town, but the sidewalks are too narrow to trench any fibre, we don't have any street light poles in our area and the only realistic alternative is to run fibre down from Telkom's poles into individual properties. Unfortunately Telkom won't roll out fibre to our area, and obviously they absolutely will not allow any third party fibre provider to use their poles to roll out fibre either.
 
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Swa

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As I've learned until such a time as all legal avenues have been exhausted and the actual court order relates to the actual core problem anything is possible. I would imagine though in the interim where ambiguity exists the new infrastructure rollouts will be limited in capacity and ironclad where exclusivity is required.
While I agree with that it does sound like a contractual issue with the ducts not actually being Telkom's. It seems that Telkom just assumed that they would have exclusive use of it perpetually.
 

Gordon_R

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While I agree with that it does sound like a contractual issue with the ducts not actually being Telkom's. It seems that Telkom just assumed that they would have exclusive use of it perpetually.
A lot of the legislation about rights-of-way or wayleaves was written quite a long time ago, when assumptions about perpetuity were common, and technological advances were undreamt of. The details are probably very messy, hence the complex lawsuits.
 
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