The local authorities in the town of Sremska Mitrovica have ordered SBB to stop the construction of its optical cable network in the town and filled manholes used to acces the cables filled with sand which SBB said is obstruction and unequal treatment compared to the state-owned Telekom Serbia.
N1 was told by the head of the town inspectorate service that a decision had been taken not to damage the infrastructure but to cover it with sand, adding that it will remain that way until SBB gets the required construction permits. The inspectorate chief spoke to N1 even though he did not get permission from the local authorities.
“We are witnessing unequal treatment by the authorities. The only thing we are insisting on is free choice and respect for freedoms and rights guaranteed under by law and the constitution. The authorities and inspectors are using senseless and groundless demands to slow down and prevent the SBB company from setting up its network and offering services to users,” the company statement said. It added that once the local workers stopped what they were doing, Telekom Serbia started building its cable network in Sremska Mitrovica.
“We determined on September 16, 2020 that Telekom Serbia is building its infrastructure without permission in the Matija Hudji suburb while SBB’s construction work was stopped with the explanation that it was against the law,” the company said.
There was no initial problem in this case. The Sremska Mitrovica local authorities allowed SBB to construct its network in micro-trenches. The work was reported on July 3 and started on July 13. the Sremska Mitrovica town inspectors issued an order on August 21 for SBB to stop work on its optic cable network. The inspector checked the work several times and had no objections before the order was issued and work went on up to August 18. The company said it had appealed the order but the inspector issued a new order to fill in the manholes and micro-trenches.
SBB recalled similar cases when construction was stopped in Subotica and later in Belgrade.“Our company has been prevented from laying optical cables in several places in Serbia by local officials in order to stop the development f the SBB network. The public is being forced into a position in which they can only choose between Telekom or its cable operators while SBB is being prevented daily from offering services to a large number of people. In every civilized country, the state has the obligation of making sure that every company faces equal market conditions with no discrimination but unfortunately we are seeing that this is not the case in Serbia. The SBB company, as one of the biggest investors in Serbia, is not given regular business conditions guaranteed by law and the constitution and both foreign and domestic investors must have the same treatment and equal conditions and rights,” the company said.