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ICASA welcomes court ruling against Telkom over ducts

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Telecoms regulator the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has welcomed yesterday's ruling by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) against Telkom on a matter relating to the leasing of facilities between licensed operators.

In a statement this afternoon, the regulator says in this matter, Telkom sought to review ICASA’s decision that directed Telkom to lease its ducts to Vodacom in some residential estates in the Western Cape, as required in terms of section 43 of the Electronic Communications Act, 2005 (ECA).

The High Court dismissed Telkom’s application with costs, says ICASA, adding that Telkom filed an application for leave to appeal which was dismissed with costs.

Thereafter, it notes, Telkom petitioned the SCA for leave to appeal.

In its order, the SCA dismissed Telkom’s application for leave to appeal with costs on the grounds that there are no reasonable prospects of success in an appeal and there is no other compelling reason why an appeal should be heard.

“Leasing of facilities within the telecommunications sector is common around the world and ICASA has developed regulations, in terms of the ECA, to facilitate such leasing of facilities," says ICASA chairperson Dr Keabetswe Modimoeng.

"We, indeed, welcome the SCA ruling as it clearly shows that our regulations are indeed critical for the advancement of the sector. We encourage our licensees, in this case Telkom, to accept regulatory measures put in place for the benefit of consumers and the public at large."

According to ICASA, the SCA ruling provides much-needed clarity to the sector in that it in effect reaffirms the High Court’s interpretation of section 43 of the ECA and the criteria to be used by the authority to adjudicate facilities disputes.

ICASA notes it remains committed to ensuring regulatory enforcement in line with the authority’s public interest mandate, with a view to ensuring all South Africans have access to a wide range of communication services at affordable prices.

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