Following an agreement with the Overstand Municipality, fibre network supplier, Lightstruck has agreed to stop digging trenches along the roads of Hermanus during the school holiday and Whale Festival period and to engage in talks this week on a way forward.

According to municipal officials, the subcontractor engaged by Lightstruck agreed to stop the installation work last Friday night. As a result, the municipality has decided not to prepare an application for a court interdict to stop Lightstruck from digging any further trenches. The subcontractor will, however, still be able to continue work on the existing trenches they have dug in order to make them safe for passersby and vehicles.

So far, the construction work in the Hermanus CBD, Northcliff and Eastcliff is only the first of nine areas that will eventually form the entire network.

“For every area where the municipality allows us to build a network, we will provide access for every primary, secondary and tertiary educational institution, including Hermanus Varsity, and offer a free, uncapped, business-grade service of 100 MB per second,” said Lightstruck CEO, Hannes Pieterse.

Also, as part of their commitment to the community, Lightstruck has promised to create WiFi hotspots in Zwelihle.

“The first two sites for the two towers in Zwelihle will be pilot sites to test the technical feasibility of the project. The preferred outcome is for the community to have access to the internet at prices that are considerably cheaper than what is currently available,” said Hannes.

Hannes also points out that what the municipality needs to understand is that “if you put your commercial hat on, a fibre network will help the town to grow”.

Lightstruck says that they were granted a special permit (a wayleave) to lay fibre cables on 26 April 2019, whereas the municipality says no approval has been granted yet for any service provider to dig trenches for the installation of fibre optic cables.

Earlier this year, Lightstruck announced that their project plan in Hermanus encapsulates nine different areas, 163 km of trenches and 403 km of fibre cables, enabling a total of 9 628 sites to have access to their network. This represents a total investment of R155 million, backed by ABSA bank, and the creation of 28 jobs during the installation phase.

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