• July 7th, 2020

CRAN roped in for fibre optic cable dispute

The Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN), without necessarily responding to all the matters raised, has issued a statement on the issue pertaining to the laying of fibre optic cables in the municipal boundaries of the City of Windhoek by Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Limited. 

The statement, issued by Katrina Sikeni, head of CRAN’s Corporate Communications, noted the city referred a dispute on 2 August 2019 for adjudication. 

“The issue to be determined by the Authority pertains to whether the two parties (city and Paratus) comply with the provisions of the Communications Act (No. 8 of 2009) that deal with the procedure for laying of fibre optic cables within municipal boundaries,” read the statement. 

Skieni noted that CRAN hosted an oral hearing on 14 February 2020 and is expected to make a decision on this matter within 30 days. CRAN’s decision will be published in the Government Gazette and all stakeholders will be informed accordingly. 

Owing to the fact that this matter is still pending before the Authority, questions posed to CRAN on this matter will not be responded to as some require CRAN to express an opinion on the merits. 

“The Authority received numerous queries on whether or not the city has a telecommunications service licence. Kindly note that the city submitted an application for a telecommunications service licence to the Authority. This application is under consideration and once a decision is made, such decision will be published in the Government Gazette and all stakeholders will be informed accordingly,” read the statement. 

Paratus has accused the city, through the City Police, of stopping the laying of fibre optic cable 11 times from 2018 to 2019. This allegedly happened on 12 February whilst laying fibre optic cables in Independence Avenue in Katutura, on 13 February in Nelson Mandela Ave and on 14 February in Dante street. 
On a social media platform, Paratus alleges that the work stoppage was ordered not because Paratus damages pavements but because the city wants to compete with licensed operators to “create a new monopoly”. 

“Their original intention is clear from their letter dated 31 May 2018. On this day, four police officers arrived at the Paratus office and delivered a letter, threatening the arrest of senior executives. Paratus has conformed to all relevant requirements and formalities in terms of our notifications under S62 of the Communications Act. All sites have been correctly rehabilitated to exacting engineering standards,” read Paratus’ post on Facebook. 

The Paratus Group provides products and services in 24 African countries and has said that “nowhere” else does it “experience this absurdity!”

Staff Reporter
2020-02-17 07:40:41 | 4 months ago

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