Telkom judgement is groundbreaking – Vodacom

Vodacom has described the Supreme Court of Appeal ruling that Vodacom is allowed to use certain Telkom ducts and sleeves to roll out its fibre network as groundbreaking.

The court made the ruling after Telkom and Vodacom fought over the use of Telkom’s ducts in Dennegeur, a residential estate in Somerset West.

“The SCA’s Dennegeur judgment is a groundbreaking and precedent-setting ruling,” Vodacom told MyBroadband.

“In future, no operator in South Africa will be restricted from deploying network equipment on infrastructure owned by a Home Owners’ Association, as was the case in Dennegeur.”

Court battle

When the Dennegeur estate was established in 2000, Telkom rolled out telephone and ADSL lines in it. This included building underground ducts and sleeves for the cabling.

During 2016, Vodacom was contracted by the Dennegeur homeowners association to install fibre for residents.

Vodacom reportedly asked Telkom for permission to install fibre in its ducts in the estate, but Telkom said it was not obligated to share its infrastructure.

Despite this, Vodacom installed its fibre network using the ducts and sleeves Telkom had built in the estate – and which contained Telkom’s copper cables.

This led to a Western Cape High Court battle over the right to use the ducts and sleeves, which Telkom won.

The Dennegeur homeowners association and Vodacom subsequently appealed the High Court’s decision at the Supreme Court of Appeal, and the court ruled in its favour.

Studying the judgement – Telkom

Telkom told MyBroadband that it has taken note of the Supreme Court of Appeal ruling.

“We confirm that the process for gaining access to the passive infrastructure of electronic communications network licensees is regulated in terms of the Electronic Communications Act and relevant regulations, which ensures order and legal certainty in respect of this process,” said Telkom.

“Telkom differs with various aspects of the judgment and is of the preliminary view that the judgment negatively impacts the rights of licensees and property owners, as well as the rollout of electronic communications networks. We are studying the judgment with a view to further steps.”

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Telkom judgement is groundbreaking – Vodacom