On 05/06/2013 17:56, Stefan Schoeman wrote:

Hello everyone,


I recently saw a post here from Mohammed from OTel regarding a Civils company for fibre installs. I was wondering if the community here

would be so kind as to perhaps point me in the right direction w.r.t what exactly one is entitled to do in terms of fibre installs and

holder of an ECNS license and how one goes about laying fibre? Basically, I have an application where I would like to lay fibre

between 2 buildings. The buildings are about 400m apart and on  opposite sides of a public road. Does my ECNS license allow me to lay

a fibre between these buildings? I would imagine so, but certainly I  can’t just go ahead and start digging? I would imagine I need some

form of council approval? And how do I know where I am allowed to dig  so as not to damage anyone else’s infrastructure, power lines,

plumbing and so on? Is there anything else that I absolutely need to  know about this kind of thing?


Please excuse me if this is a stupid question, but I guess it is even  more stupid not to ask 😉


Stefan Schoeman



From: ispa-bounces@ispa.org.za [mailto:ispa-bounces@ispa.org.za] On Behalf Of Mike Silber – ISPA

Sent: 05 June 2013 06:09 PM

To: ISPA members

Subject: Re: [ISPA] Some Advice on Fibre installation




This is a cause of some debate due to the lack of uniformity across the country.


The FTTh Council has been working with ICASA and others to try get some common standards.


That being said – in order to cross a road (or a third party’s land) you need a servitude or wayleave. There is a debate about whether you need to pay for this, or pay any more than an admin / processing fee.


There is a view that you should not pay a public body (other than an admin / application / processing fee), but you may need to pay a private land owner. A recent court case has indicated that in exercising your right to access private land you are acting under a legislative authority and this must follow a due administrative process. The Promotion of Administrative Justice Act gives some indication of how this would go. You must give notice, receive input and make a fair decision.


If all you need to do is cross a road – you (usually your contractor) will apply to the council for a wayleave. They will have some standards with which you must comply. Crossing under the roadway may or may not be allowed and you may need a bit of a detour, or they will allow you to thrust bore under or cut in or hang ADSS over …. COLTO is the common standard in South Africa but each council has its own variations.


You will be expected to make good on completion. You may need to put down a deposit / bond.


If there is existing fibre (even if not exactly on the route) – they may refuse your permission and force you to take capacity or dark fibre from the existing fibre provider.


Hope that helps?




Mike has covered the necessary legal points, but I see you going towards a direction which I may input some advice on..


In plain and simple terms, if you have an ECNS licence, then you can lay the fiber. However, I urge you to look at the focus of your company.

Are you a

1) civils company who lays its own fiber or

2) are you a service provider with the authority to lay a fibre for the service provisioning to your client?


With the industry growing as fast as it is, I can safely assume that you are really busy and your company resources are already stretched. Yet you need to provide that service and you have the authority to do so as per your license.


I wrote an article about outsourcing here:

To outsource or not?


Anyway, we underwent this route before. We planned to establish a division within the company who will install fiber for our client as we were facing poor delivery times from our upstream providers. We went as far as interviewing and nearly hiring a team of qualified and experienced individuals, such as former Telkom techs who have laid fibre before, engineers who are familiar with fibre deployments, and so on.


We then did the calculations to see the feasibility of such venture, and that’s where we stopped. Our project manager reported that the risks and the school fees n entering such venture does not make the project that attractive. We’ve spoken to various civils companies on the unforeseen challenges they face and what needs to be done to overcome them. The wayleaves, political involvement and palm greasing environment is not our cup of tea. We run a clean and fair business model …ultimately we felt that it would take much of our focus away from our core business which is doing very well. To enter a high risk venture and potentially much headaches was not worth our while at this moment in time.


See some articles here

Shocking revelations about fibre networks and crime in SA

Crime tears at telecoms sector


So what we have done is outsource it to Civils companies. Now you have to be careful here. There are two types of offers on hand.

1- The civil company does all your way leave applications and all the bureaucracy around it gets handled. You simply give point A and B and it gets done. You foot the bill on everything, labour, admin fees, fibre strands, point A and B equipment, routers, etc. The fibre then belongs to YOU and you need to maintain it. If it gets damaged, you engage with a civils company (most likely the same one) on an ADHOC basis to repair. You need to calculate your costs and ROI here. You can afford to give your client a short term contract, but ultimately, you need to consider whether your efforts and investment will reap a worthwhile reward. Example, the client signs with you a 100mb on 5+ years is considerably more attractive than a 10mb over 3 years. In this game you will need to learn to ‘walk away’ from deals which don’t make sense. Think with your business head instead of your heart which loves the industry.


2- There are some civils companies who will lay the dark fibre for you without any major initial investment from you. However, the fibre belongs to them, and they can share the infrastructure with other clients. They will charge you a monthly rental and you factor that within your costs. This is advisable for long distance fibre as the costs for you to do it will not reap you ROI very soon. This is the easiest method, with little risk, despite the long term contracts you need to sign. It will not give you much headache as the responsibility of the SLA falls on the fibre supplier, not you.


In conclusion, I would suggest you do step into the world of fibre laying (SA needs as many providers as possible), but start small with assistance from Civils or Infrastructure service provider companies. Remember that like the telecoms industry elsewhere in the world, consolidation is bound to take place. By you adding on to your very own infrastructure just adds to the value of your company and makes it very attractive for potential acquisitions.

Once you’ve deployed a few using civils, get familiar with the deployment procedures, and install a few until the business unit becomes sustainable on its own, without needing your regular resources to take care of it.

Once its standing on its own, start laying your own fibre in shorter distances, and grow from there.


I would have gone on, but I’m ill in bed (yet working , workaholic me… )and the meds have begun to take effect..so I’ll stop here..






Mohammad A. Patel