Build it and they will come

Dark Fibre Africa is aggressively growing its fibre network in South Africa, covering both major cities and small towns

By - March 30, 2012
Dark Fibre Africa (DFA)

Dark Fibre Africa (DFA) has already laid 5,253km of fibre in South Africa, and their aggressive rollout is set to continue. This is according to Jean-Pierre Crouse, Chief Implementation Officer at DFA.

DFA, which currently employs over 200 permanent staff and over 6,000 people through its business partners, said that it has an expenditure plan in excess of R3 billion.

The DFA network already covers all of South Africa’s major cities with a few national routes, and the company is now also growing its network to cover smaller towns and cities.

In cooperation with George Municipality, Dark Fibre Africa (DFA) is currently deploying fibre infrastructure to the value of R15 million.

DFA said that other nearby cities will benefit from this rollout including Knysna, East London and Mthatha, with an investment value in excess of R80-million.

Dark Fibre Africa CEO Gustav Smit said they merely provide the open fibre infrastructure: “This enables licensed operators such as Vodacom, MTN and Cell C to give communities access to the network. It is now up to the internet service providers (ISPs) to get fibre internet connections to the homes”.

Gustav Smit

Gustav Smit - DFA CEO

Apart from the George project, DFA is also laying fibre in East London, Potchefstroom, Rustenburg and Polokwane. Next month will see DFA network rollouts in Knysna, Mosselbaai, Umtata, Witbank and Middelburg.

The company has even built fibre networks in small towns like Vryheid and Piet Retief, with plans to roll out an additional 800km of fibre in small towns.

Crouse said that the company has a good balance between rollouts where they have guaranteed clients and areas where they don’t have many initial clients, but are confident that they will gain business in future.

DFA’s fibre rollouts in small towns, Crouse explains, are typically done without many big anchor tenants, but he is confident that the mobile players and ISPs will use the network to cater for future bandwidth demand.

Many companies are hesitant to follow a “build it and they will come” strategy when it comes to large network investments, but Crouse said that DFA’s shareholders are behind their aggressive fibre rollout plans.

With the continued growth in broadband access and bandwidth requirement in South Africa, DFA’s strategy is likely to show great returns in future.

It is well known that the mobile operators are looking to boost their transmission capacity to support faster HSPA+ speeds and LTE in future, and with DFA’s presence across the country they are well positioned to serve this need.

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DFA reaches 5,000km fibre milestone

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Fibre in SA: An eye opener

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