Pleas for communities across the country to insist on open access fibre optic cable installations are having the desired effect, with business and residential body corporates, in particular, increasingly demanding a level playing field from broadband infrastructure providers.
This is according to Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA) chair, Graham Beneke, who says that elected representatives of gated communities, estates and business parks are gradually adopting a hard line with fibre providers, some of whom still refuse to do business transparently.
“There’s a clear trend towards homeowners’ associations, body corporates, residents’ associations and property developers rejecting any potential fibre installation that does not allow for multiple broadband service providers to compete for owners’ and tenants’ business,” said Beneke.
“It’s imperative communities choose open access providers and that clauses to this effect are always inserted in any written agreements with planned fibre providers.”
Beneke added that consumers should be free to choose who they buy internet access or data from and this is firmly in line with stated government policy.
In October 2016, Government outlined the right of consumers to choose their service provider as a key requirement of the National Integrated ICT Policy White Paper. It requires fair and sustainable service-based competition ‘which will increase consumer choice (of service providers and of services), reduce costs and increase innovation.’
“Not all networks, however, want to provide a platform for competition,” Beneke said.
“They do not want competition at the services level and actively work against it. ISPA’s view is that this is not in the best interests of consumers and needs to be addressed to reduce the cost to communicate, poor service levels and a lack of innovation.”
“Network deployment agreements that deny subscribers the choice of service provider represent a disservice to communities where the network is to be deployed and denies them their right of choice,” concludes Beneke.