Residents to decide future of fibre-optic cabling

André Buitendag is very positive about the fibre-optic network.

Residents turned out in large numbers to attend a public meeting on 14 June in connection with a fibre-optic roll-out project for the area.

The meeting was held at Laerskool Helderkruin, and was arranged by the councillor for Ward 83, Suzanne Clarke, and residents from Helderkruin, Roodekrans, Wilro Park and Kloofendal were in attendance. “My duty as ward councillor is to be a conduit between the city and its residents, and this is what the meeting tonight is about,” she said.

Suzanne Clarke, the councillor for Ward 83, facilitated a public meeting between the fibre-optic providers and residents. Photos: Adéle Bloem

The representatives of the fibre-optic company – Vumatel – used the opportunity to inform residents of how the fibre-optic network will be rolled out. “We are working together with the City of Johannesburg, and will use their infrastructure for our cables. Unfortunately we will not be able to use the trenching method, because of the terrain and all the challenges we are facing, thus we will going the aerial route,” said Allan Webb, the project manager.

This news was met with apprehension from the residents, as they felt that the cables crisscrossing over the roads and all the extra poles being erected would pose a whole new set of problems.

“An installation of this kind will bring with it a spaghetti network of poles and cables, which will not only look bad, but also afford a criminal easier access to our properties,” one concerned resident said.

Some residents felt that they were being informed of something that had already been decided, and they did not have any choice, but Suzanne refuted this. “Vumatel followed the correct processes. That is why I called this meeting. It is the residents’ choice if they want this or not, and if they say no, I will stop the project. If they say yes, and require the company to do extra studies, for instance an environmental impact study, I will arrange for that. Unfortunately, I will not allow trenching in the ward, as it causes too much damage to CoJ infrastructure,” she said.

She added that it can take only 20 residents to decide on the outcome of a matter. “If I call a public meeting, and only 20 residents attend, then the decision of those residents will be taken into account,” said Suzanne.

David van der Westhuizen would not mind the roll-out, but feels that due process need to be followed.

Residents were not too happy about this, and they started arguing amongst themselves, until one resident took it upon himself to ask the question, “By a show of hands, who wants fibre?” This was met with almost all hands being raised and a shout ringing through the hall, “We all want fibre. The question is just how we want it.”

Two residents, David van der Westhuizen and André Buitendag took the time to speak to the Record. “At last the West Rand is catching up with recent technological advancements. I would like to have the option of fibre in my area, but would want it to be done through the correct channels, especially if you look at the environmental impact,” said David.

André said that he felt very happy about the prospect, and he could not wait for it to be installed.

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  AUTHOR
Adéle Bloem
Journalist

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