Parliamentary Question: SKA cables

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DEPARTMENT: PUBLIC ENTERPRISES

REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

QUESTION FOR WRITTEN REPLY

QUESTION NO.:896

DATE OF PUBLICATION: 23 March 2010
896. Ms M R Shinn (DA) to ask the Minister of Public Enterprises:

(1) Whether the broadband cable plan of a certain company (name furnished) for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) bid includes the towns of Carnarvon and Williston; if not, why not; if so, (a) what facilities will be made available to the (i) residents, (ii) businesses and (iii) farmers located and living in these communities and (b) when will these facilities be made available to these specified categories of persons;
(2) whether the said company is currently considering a communications solution for farmers and communities outside the towns of Carnarvon and Williston who are affected by the Astronomy Geographic Advantage Act, Act 21 of 2007; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details? NW1036E

REPLY

Subject to the successful awarding of the Karoo Array telescope (KAT) / SKA long-distance telecommunications connectivity requirements to Broadband Infraco, fibre optic cable connectivity in the area will include the town of Carnarvon. However, Broadband Infraco currently does not have plans to provide broadband connectivity or access to the town of Williston because this town is located approximately 130 km from the optimal fibre cable routing to the KAT / SKA core site.
(a) Fibre optic cable infrastructure back to the Broadband Infraco backbone network and a point-of-presence (connectivity facility) will be established near Carnarvon. This infrastructure will be available for other licensed retail telecommunications operators to gain access to, with the view to provide “last mile” or access telecommunications services within the local community.

(i), (ii) & (iii) and (2) Broadband Infraco was issued with a wholesale individual electronic communications network services (I-ECNS) licence by ICASA in October 2009 and as such is not licensed to provide retail telecommunications services to residents, farmers or businesses located in these communities that are not licensed or licence exempt despite its statutory mandate to provide services to under-serviced areas.

Telecommunications services can only be provided to these aforementioned customer segments by a service provider that has a retail individual electronic communications services (I-ECS) licence. However Broadband Infraco could collaborate with another, third party I-ECS licensed operator (by providing backhaul connectivity services to the same) in order to facilitate a communications solution for farmers and other communities in the affected area.
(b) The establishment of the network infrastructure to Carnarvon is planned to be completed and to be available to third party I-ECS licensed operators who will be able to serve the specified customer categories of residents, businesses and farmers during the fourth quarter of 2010.