Who is Neotel?
Neotel is South Africa’s first converged communications network operator, offering services that bring together voice, data and Internet, delivered via optical fibre (currently to large enterprises) or wireless access, based on its own, independent national network.
More information is available on Neotel’s web site: http://www.neotel.co.za
Neotel is licensed as the second national operator in South Africa, and launched the brand and its wholesale services (for mobile operators and ISPs) on 31 August 2006. It has subsequently launched a range of Enterprise services (including NeoVoice, NeoInternet, NeoVPN, NeoLink, NeoMetro Link and NeoHost) and Consumer services (NeoConnect and NeoFlex). More information on each of the service portfolios in available on Neotel’s web site above.
Where are the NeoConnect / NeoFlex basestations?
NeoConnect / NeoFlex basestations are not dissimilar to most wireless (cellular) basestations. Neotel currently makes use of various sites, including new ones, and existing cellular sites.
How are the NeoConnect / NeoFlex basestations connected together?
Neotel provides all of its own links to basestations from its core network. Typically, these are provided using optical fibre to maximise performance, but may be microwave in some cases.
Is it Neotel that’s digging up roads in Pretoria / Jo’burg / Cape Town / Durban?
Yes and No. If you see ducting (for optical fibre) being buried, and you also see an orange sign “Neotel at work”, then yes. However, there are a number of other parties that dig up roads regularly, and Neotel sometimes gets blamed for these. (Note that Neotel is not the only company that uses orange ducts.) If you are not sure, ask the guys doing the digging.
Neotel makes every effort to ensure that any work is completed rapidly, and trenches filled in and pavements re-instated as soon as possible (within a few days). However, some councils use their own contractors to re-instate, and this may be out of Neotel’s control. Having completed much of its core network build, Neotel is currently trenching mostly on pavements (Fibre to the Kerb), and typically drills under roads or crosses only where essential. Long trenches along roads are not Neotel’s.
If you have any queries about trenching in your area, call the Neotel general call centre number, 0800 000 NEO (0800 000 636).
Where it’s digging, is Neotel deploying copper (e.g. for ADSL) or optical fibre?
Neotel has decided not to deploy copper, since this is both high risk, and an ageing technology. Optical fibre is deployed as access for businesses currently, as Fibre to the Kerb/Curb (FTTC). Nothing beats the speed or reliability of fibre, especially for delivering true broadband services, including Fibre to the Home (FTTH) in future.
Is Neotel deploying its network in any cities other than Pretoria, Jo’burg, Cape Town and Durban?
Neotel has a 10000 km optical fibre long distance network that passes through all of the major cities in South Africa. You may therefore see Neotel at work in other cities. However, it has not yet made any announcements about the availability of NeoConnect / NeoFlex in any other cities.
Neotel is laying cables in my area. Does this mean I can get NeoConnect / NeoFlex? Why are Neotel digging up roads if the service is wireless?
Neotel is not currently offering any wireline services targeted at consumers, so the presence of optical fibre cables alone doesn’t mean you can get a service. However, Neotel typically backhauls its wireless (CDMA) basestations with optical fibre, in order to provide the best speed and performance. Hence, the presence of Neotel cables may mean that there is a basestation nearby.
Neotel has announced that it is rolling out WiMAX? How does this compare?
Neotel’s initial WiMAX offerings are targeted at Enterprise users with broadband requirements. Details are available on the Enterprise pages of the Neotel web site.
Can I buy a Neotel Enterprise service, like NeoVoice, NeoInternet or NeoVPN?
Yes, in principle, if you are prepared to pay for it, and it’s available (feasible). Neotel does not prevent a consumer from buying a business service, although these are typically large services not suited to individual users.