The Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Ms Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has published a proposed policy and policy direction on rapid deployment of electronic communication networks and facilities. The policy on rapid deployment has taken a long time in coming but have the Minister and her department not gone over the top and are they planning to take control of your property? Just look at some of the proposals:
Electronic communications network service licensees have the right to use public and private land for the deployment of electronic communications
networks and facilities. This is subject to a number of conditions.
Electronic communications network service licensees are entitled to select
appropriate land and gain access to such land for the purposes of constructing,
maintaining, altering or removing their electronic communications networks or facilities.
Electronic communications network service licensees retain ownership of any
electronic communications networks and facilities constructed.
Property owners must exercise due care and diligence to avoid damage to electronic
communications networks or facilities deployed on their property. If such electronic
communications networks or facilities are damaged due to the fault of a property owner, reasonable compensation agreed to between the property owner and the electronic communications network service licensee is payable. Really? First the telecom provider demands to use your property and then holds you responsible for any damage that may be caused by whoever!
Rapid deployment of telecommunication is an economic priority. City Councils should be taken to task for the long delays in granting wayleaves and excessive charges, but with the proposed policy, the Minister and her department are simply going too far.
The proposed policy is published in Government Gazette 43537. Comments are invited and must reach the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies by 20 August 2020.