The ongoing dispute between the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) and WBS/iBurst regarding unpaid license fees has resulted in the confiscation of some of iBurst’s core network equipment. This is according to a well-placed industry sources.
iBurst said on Twitter today (3 April 2013) that it was “experiencing connectivity issues in one of our main data centres. Our technicians are working on restoring services as soon as possible”.
“We are working on this and hope to have some services restored by this evening,” iBurst said.
In another Twitter message iBurst said that “We are experiencing connectivity issues due to a power failure in one of our major data centres. We are working on it.”
However, the real reason behind iBurst’s network problems seems to be related to the company’s ongoing battle with ICASA.
Well placed industry sources have confirmed that ICASA confiscated some of iBurst’s core network equipment in the MTN data centre in Gallo Manor today (3 April 2013). This caused a mass outage for iBurst and Broadlink clients.
It is understood that iBurst is currently working to bring services online by bypassing the section of the network which is affected by the ICASA equipment attachment. This is, however, proving challenging.
Broadlink Managing Director Mike Brown, who uses iBurst’s infrastructure to provide connectivity service to clients, confirmed that he is aware that the regulator’s actions have interrupted services.
Brown said that they are working on an urgent high court interdict to immediately stop the actions which are causing the service disruptions.
Brown could not immediately say how many Broadlink links were down, but he said it was a sizeable portion of the network.
Long battle between WBS/iBurst and ICASA
Numerous reports over the past year have outlined ICASA’s case against WBS, iBurst, and Broadlink, with allegations that the companies were operating a large number of illegal, unlicensed wireless links.
According to ICASA, WBS and the regulator have been working on sorting out the payment behind the licensing of the spectrum the company has been using without clearance.
WBS/iBurst has maintained that the claims made against it are false, and that the company was up to date with all payments due to ICASA.
Rumours recently surfaced that ICASA slapped Wireless Business Solutions (WBS), the holding company of iBurst, with a multi-million Rand bill for unpaid license fees. Both WBS and ICASA denied this information.
MyBroadband contacted iBurst/WBS regarding the network problems and the spectrum battle with ICASA, but the company did not comment by the time of publication.
ICASA could also not immediately say whether it was confiscating WBS/iBurst’s wireless equipment due to non-payment of license fees.