If a fibre installer has left a mess on your pavement or in your building and it was Openserve who did the installation and you couldn’t get a response, it’s not surprising.
Openserve is a division of Telkom and they don’t communicate directly with customers.
Tegwen Matthews owns one of the five apartments on Brompton Avenue, Bantry Bay, where she is chairperson of the body corporate.
“Both sides of the pavement were dug up when Openserve installed the fibre pipes and in a garden at one of our ground floor apartments. Openserve also installed a junction box inside the building but we were without fibre internet. For well over 15 months each owner has approached almost every internet service provider (ISP) provider to obtain fibre and there is sometimes a glimmer of hope that we are at last getting somewhere, only to hit a dead end and a reply that ‘Openserve do not have connectivity in your area’, but my neighbours opposite have fibre connected by Openserve, my neighbour next door has fibre connected by Octotel from the rear of their property in Rochester Road and a map shows that we are the only building without fibre,” Ms Matthews said.
“I also emailed Vox, another ISP, who tried to get Openserve to contact me or even visit the site where the wires are installed, to no avail. As chairperson and an owner, I have pledged to never give up on our quest for fibre. If you type in our address into any ISP provider website, they will all say, ‘Congratulations!.. Openserve has fibre connection for your property’, then after signing contracts, providing the necessary ID and paperwork, the same dead end. I assume the City of Cape Town will have provided a licence to Openserve to allow them to dig up the pavements so they can provide a fibre installation to the people in Brompton Avenue,” she said.
They did and the permit is known as a “wayleave” which means the area must be restored to its original condition.
Ms Matthews, 63, said this is the first time she has ever written to a newspaper asking for help.
“I often wondered why people got so worked up about something that they felt the need to do so.
“Now look at me. Anything you can do to help would be massively appreciated.”
On the assumption that it’s an old boys club and all the installers know each other, I suggested that Ms Matthews contact Giorgio Iovino of Vumatel (“Pavement damaged as fibre installed”, November 14/15 2018). Which she did, and the response was almost immediate. Hennie de Ronde, manager, regional network operation for Openserve, promised to investigate and contact Ms Matthews.
“Hennie immediately sent two of the main people responsible for the installation and three days later all wires were connected to individual floors. The Openserve wires and hub box were exactly where I had said, and have been saying for the last 15 months, inside the building. But it needed someone to come and physically see it before anyone would believe me. All thanks to Off My Trolley, Mr Iovino, and Mr De Ronde from Openserve. I am now just waiting for my ISP to carry on with my original order and the four other apartments are doing the same, after constantly being told, ‘Openserve say they do not have fibre connectivity in your area’,” Ms Matthews said.
Mr De Ronde did not want to comment and deferred to Telkom for an explanation.
Pynee Chetty, Telkom senior specialist: media relations, said, Openserve is Telkom’s redesigned wholesale partner and is a division of the Telkom Group.
“We supply Openserve Fibre Broadband (the physical infrastructure) on an open-access basis to the customers of many licensed operators that retail communication, voice and data services as ISPs. We are a wholesale business and only communicate to consumers on instruction and through our ISP partners. Therefore, a direct ‘consumer’ interface channel to our business does not exist,” Mr Chetty said.
What that means is that Telkom doesn’t communicate with customers (“Tough time taking Telkom to task”, Off My Trolley, October 31/ November 1 2018).
“Bantry Bay was one of the first areas, around two years ago, where we deployed fibre in the metropole. The problem encountered by residents was that, while fibre was deployed to the property, the fibre reticulation was not extended to each of the individual floors and apartments in the building. But it was never fully completed by the infrastructure service provider and as a result these five apartments were never recorded as ‘homes passed’ with fibre.
“Our ISP partners are encouraged to work off lists of addresses, that we periodically supply to them, owing to the lack of granularity on the online maps provided. Unfortunately, these five apartments were not on the list and therefore ISPs were unable to sell fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) services to residents there. This is, however, being rectified. Openserve is ensuring that the fibre reticulation on the property is extended to each individual apartment and that the ‘homes-passed’ register is updated to allow ISPs to sell FTTH services to the affected residents.
“Openserve cannot account for ISPs that may have sold fibre services to other residents in the street and did not pick up that something was amiss from an infrastructure availability perspective at this one address or why ISPs did not raise this with us as their infrastructure supplier.
“Work done in the vicinity, on municipal and private property, was done in accordance with stipulated standards and Ms Mathews indicated agreement when she liaised with our personnel,” Mr Chetty said.