MetroFibre Networks is being charged by Telkom for illegally accessing its fiber network. To settle the dispute, Telkom had submitted a petition against MetroFibre Networx to South Africa’s independent communications authority (ICASA). The Complaints and Compliance Committee (CCC) of ICASA was scheduled to hear the dispute between the quarreling parties on Friday.
In a statement, ICASA had revealed that the CCC would hear a case involving MetroFibre Networx and Telkom on Friday. The Century Manor Estate in Hertzog Doringkloof, Centurion, is where Telkom claims MetroFibre Networx put fiber-optic wiring in Telkom’s infrastructure unlawfully.
Nevertheless, according to MetroFibre and Telkom, the hearing was put off indefinitely. Telkom notes the hearing, which concerned the complaint lodged in August, was postponed pending ICASA’s decision in the previous complaint as the complaints raise similar issues.
In a statement, MetroFibre says: “MetroFibre and Telkom were scheduled for a hearing at ICASA’s Complaints and Compliance Committee around a dispute involving access to underground pipes in residential estates. MetroFibre can confirm that the CCC postponed today’s [Friday’s] hearing indefinitely.”
The company says the legal issues in this dispute are complex, and various similar disputes have been ongoing for a few years.
“The most published of these was the dispute between Telkom and Vodacom around access to underground pipes in the Dennegeur Estate. Unfortunately, MetroFibre cannot make further comment until the CCC and the courts clarify the legal complexities.”
In a related subject, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) had ruled against Telkom in March of last year in a dispute involving the leasing of infrastructure between authorized operators. This decision was applauded by ICASA.
According to the regulatory body, Telkom requested a review of ICASA’s decision ordering it to lease Vodacom access to several residential estates in the Western Cape using its ducts, as required by section 43 of the Electronic Communications Act of 2005. According to ICASA, the High Court rejected Telkom’s motion with fees attached. Telkom also filed a request for leave to appeal, which was also rejected with costs. Telkom then requested permission from the SCA to appeal, it was noted.
The SCA denied Telkom’s request for leave to appeal with costs in its order on the basis that an appeal had no reasonable chance of success and that there was no other compelling reason for it to be heard.