Councillor slams fibre cable laying companies

FOR the last month, the Northglen News has been inundated with complaints from residents over the massive fibre optic cable laying project in the area. Last week the newspaper reached out to a few of the companies to find out what was being done to address residents’ concerns as well as who was covering the costs of damage to municipal property. Durban North and uMhlanga ward councillors have also slammed the companies for the inconvenience caused to local residents.

uMhlanga ward councillor, Heinz de Boer, said the process has been unfair on ratepayers.

“I understand there needs to be telecommunications infrastructure but it has been tackled irresponsibly. The damage done to residents’ driveways as well as municipal infrastructure is totally unacceptable. Yes there are cases of verges being reinstated, but there are more complaints from residents whose driveways have not been fixed. The inconvenience caused to consumers is unfair, considering these same companies will be looking for residents to be their customers to sign up for fibre.

Read also: Glen Anil driveway damaged by cable laying

 

Adele Grabe, spokesman for Vumatel, said often, the delays in repairing burst pipes or damaged cables was because the City assigned it’s own teams.

“When infrastructure is damaged, the contractor responsible is fined by the municipality and is invoiced for the repair. Although every effort is made to not hit services, this is not always possible. Most service damages occur because cables or pipes are not buried at the required depth, have moved over time, or are not straight anymore. When a service is damaged, we are required by our way leave permission to report it to the municipality and wait for them to assign a team to fix the damages. The turn-around time for a team to be sent by the municipality is indicated to be 4-24 hours. Although we have our own electricians and plumbers, they are not allowed to repair damages on the municipal grid without being dispatched specifically by the affected municipal departments.

“We are aware of the number of complaints and address each one of these as priority. Unfortunately we also receive complaints for damages caused by other companies and municipality construction in the areas we are laying our infrastructure. We prefer to handle each complaint one-on-one. Concerns/complaints can be sent to me on [email protected] and a resident liaison will be assigned to make sure each complaint is handled as efficiently as possible,” she said.

You may also be interested in: Cable workers down tools in Somerset Park 

There was no response from Nokia at the time of publication.

 

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  AUTHOR
Shiraz Habbib
Journalist

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