BY SILAS NKALA
THREE companies have sought permission from the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) to lay underground and overhead optic fibre lines throughout the city.
The three firms are Bandwidth and Cloud Services Group, Dande Mutande and DFA Open Access Network.
“Applications had been received from the three companies seeking to be service providers authorised to trench and lay underground optic fibre as well as to place overheard optic fibre lines throughout the city” the BCC minutes read.
“These companies proposed to put this infrastructure within existing servitudes and also to request new servitudes where needed. They said they would share existing infrastructure where such infrastructure had already been laid.
“Where the existing lines did not have capacity to accommodate their service or where it was not feasible to share, they will trench parallel to the existing lines and install their optic fibre. They wished to install overheard lines using existing infrastructure and where it did not exist, place the necessary infrastructure,” the minutes added.
Council said some of the institutions that would benefit from the fibre optics included mobile telecommunications companies, internet users such as government, BCC, educational institutions and other players.
The local authority said the project would be done in consultation with the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe. Despite welcoming the developments BCC was, however, concerned that previous trenching in the city by fibre network companies had resulted in damage to infrastructure.
“Roads had been damaged, congestion and pollution was experienced during the process of trenching, accessibility to certain localities was restricted during trenching and accidental cable cuts and damage to water pipes had been experienced during this process. Invasion of personal space and long-term damage to roads had also been recorded,” said BCC. Because of this council has since then adopted measures to mitigate the negative impacts of trenching by network developers.
“The companies will be requested to utilise ducts wherever they are (on site) and install some where there are no ducts whenever they cross a road so that those can be utilised by other service providers also to avoid further damage to our weathered roads” the minutes stated.
Trenching companies were also expected to fully rehabilitate roads after trenching. The minutes also pointed out that Bulawayo had no capacity to accommodate the services of the three companies.
“The land on which the companies lay their optic fibre should be leased to the respective company at a rental to be determined by the city valuer and estate manager based on the total area covered by such infrastructure,” BCC