Neology pulls out of JBNP

By Damaria Senne, ITWeb senior journalist
Johannesburg, 28 Feb 2008

Neology has pulled out of the R500 million Johannesburg Broadband Network Project (JBNP), leaving a short-list of 10 other companies.

Speaking at the Broadband Summit, in Sandton, yesterday, Neology CIO Regardt van de Vyver would not explain why the company pulled out of the project.

However, he noted in his presentation that the initiative, like every municipal project, faces bureaucracy as one of its major challenges.

“Municipal broadband networks can be successful, if one can get to the stage where one can deploy the network,” he said.

There are a number of stakeholders to consult, and the Municipal Act prescribes a number of processes through which municipalities should engage with business, he said.

Former JBNP project manager Douglas Cohen previously told ITWeb that politics delayed the project.

“I was basically fighting the machine, I got really tired. I was not getting the support I needed and it was affecting my personal life,” he said at the time of his departure.

Communication Solutions director Darren Morgan also said the JBNP was not the entire problem. “The real issue is that there is no real backbone infrastructure planned. JBNP needs a backbone in place to run an access network.”

On track

Despite the challenges, progress is being made with the JBNP, Van de Vyver said. The project is at the request for proposal stage, with short-listed bidders assembling demo networks, he said.

Short-listed companies include Altech, Dimension Data, Ericsson, Goal Technology Solutions, MTN, MWeb/Tellumat, Telkom, Transtel, Sentech and Vodacom.

The progress of the demonstration networks is unclear, as all the short-listed companies have signed non-disclosure agreements.

However, the City of Johannesburg recently said the project is on track and there are no delays.

Related stories:
Broadband Summit begins this week
No clarity on Joburg broadband
JBNP hits a wall