The South African Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, recently published proposed draft by-laws for deploying electronic communication and facilities for public comment.
According to media reports, the proposed by-laws include an outline application process for wayleaves, which have previously delayed fibre rollouts and increased the costs associated with fibre rollouts.
Under the new laws, FNOs need to obtain the wayleave application form from a municipality’s head office or online through its website. However, they must first get approval from all relevant authorities and affected providers.
Industry experts have noted that one of the challenges FNOs face is the costs associated with applying for a wayleave.
The proposed by-laws specify that municipalities set out wayleave application fees in their annual budgeting framework. However, the fees set out by municipalities significantly impact the cost of rolling out fibre infrastructure.
In 2019 former Dark Fibre Africa CEO Thinus Mulder said, “In some metropolitan municipalities in South Africa, it costs FNOs more to apply for trenching rights than to physically dig and lay the necessary cabling.”
At the time, Mulder said some municipalities had hiked their fees to apply for wayleaves by as much as 5,000 per cent, making it increasingly difficult for FNOs, like DFA, to roll out fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) in certain areas.
Fibre prices have dropped significantly over the years, but according to Openserve, they could have fallen even further if local governments improved wayleave application and approval processes.