Joburg provides legal update on broadband project


JOHANNESBURG – THE City of Johannesburg said following the termination of the contract with Ericsson, CitiConnect Communications and BWired, the matter has been deferred to the next council meeting.

The next Council meeting will conclude the process according to the regulatory requirements and approvals regarding the said termination and transition arrangements.

The Council meeting of July 19 delegated the City Manager, Trevor Fowler, to fast track the conclusion of the termination and transition arrangements of the contract with CitiConnect Communications and BWired.

These companies were ceded the contract by Ericsson to ensure a smooth roll-out of the City’s smart city initiatives and migration to a new ICT service architecture.

The Johannesburg Broadband Network (JBN) Build, Operate and Transfer Agreement (BOT) was initiated as far back as 2006 to integrate the City’s telecommunications structures and lower government costs, as well as those of Municipal Owned Entities (MOEs), and to increase access to telecommunications services to residents.

The primary objectives of the overall project are to increase the competitive edge of doing business in Johannesburg; increase usage and penetration of high-speed broadband connectivity. This is while it facilitates the growth and development of new and existing information and communications technology businesses.

The project is also designed to increase and accelerate access to the benefits of Internet-based communications as well as achieve digital inclusion by reducing costs while improving service delivery.

Thus far, at least 900 km of fibre optic cables have been designed and rolled out by Ericsson. It was envisaged that this would be operated over 12 years by BWired – the Operator entity created to implement the project.

Ericsson was awarded the contract in 2010 and later ceded it to CitiConnect Communications.

Upon conclusion of the said termination and transition arrangements in the contract, the City will obtain full control of BWired, which according to the prescripts of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA), becomes a Municipal Owned Entity.

– CAJ News

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