Pavements dug up to install cables

Fibre optic cables being installed on the corner of Long and Hout streets.

While roadworks in the CBD can become a serious annoyance for commuters, residents and pedestrians alike, road-users will have to put up with the inconvenience for a little while longer while fibre optic cables are laid in Shortmarket and Strand streets and along certain parts of Long Street.

A number of private companies are installing infrastructure across the city centre to ensure the provision of fast broadband internet to users in the City, said the City’s Mayco member for transport, Brett Herron.

He was, however, unable to say when the installation of cables under city sidewalks would be completed.

“The laying of the fibre optic cables and the repairing of the sidewalks are done as fast as practically possible. This process can take up to a week at a time, weather and other challenges permitting,” he said.

Although the City is not responsible for laying the cables, officials monitor the process as far as possible to ensure that the sidewalks are repaired to the same condition they were before.

Mr Herron said guarantees are paid upfront so that the City can take action when the conditions are not met.

“As part of the conditions imposed by the City, the infrastructure providers must indemnify the City against any third party liability claims and ensure that they have sufficient public insurance in place to deal with any claims that may result from their operations.

“Where properties of private businesses/owners are damaged in the process, individuals can institute claims directly against the relevant service provider.

He added that while he is concerned about the disruption and inconveniences caused by the laying of the cables, the City is bound by the Electronic Communications Act, which entitles all licence holders who are issued a permit by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) to use the city’s road reserves for the installation of their infrastructure.

“The contractors must install warning signs, informing pedestrians to use alternative routes/sidewalks, and they are required to notify businesses and residents upfront of the imminent work,” he said.