Fibre to the home has become the default broadband connection in countries such as Japan and South Korea, but in South Africa this remains only a dream. This dream may however be closer than many people think if Dark Fibre Africa director Richard Came is to be believed.
Speaking at the recent BMI-T Telecoms Emergence Forum in Midrand, Came said that he expects fibre to the home to arrive in South Africa much sooner than expected.
Came predicts that many residential properties and businesses will have fibre to the premise (FTTX) connections in two years’ time. He expects that densely populated areas such as gated villages and business parks will experience the benefits of FTTX first.
Came predicts that FTTX will far exceed current expectations in terms of take up.
The fastest current broadband connection in South Africa is a 4Mbps ADSL service offered by Telkom. Telkom is upgrading its network to support ADSL 2+, but users should only expect a 10Mbps DSL service by 2011.
This means that fibre to the home may actually arrive before Telkom is offering clients an ADSL 2+ service, effectively leap-frogging the ADSL upgrade.
Neotel has previously said that they plan FTTX services in the next few years, providing consumers with "true broadband" speeds. The company is already equipping many business premises with fibre access points, something which will be extended to residential properties in future.
Angus Hay, Neotel’s chief technology officer, said that he would not be surprised to see fibre to the home within the next two years, but made it clear that this should not be taken as a planned launch date of residential fibre services by Neotel.