Fibre broadband connectivity: Good news for SA

Vodacom Business will soon start trialing fibre to the premise (FTTx) as part of a bigger plan to offer fibre connections to the small business and potentially the residential market.

Janine Rebelo, executive head of access services from Vodacom Business, said that the FTTx and fibre to the home (FTTH) concept (which is based on Vodafone’s FTTx blueprint), has been approved by Vodacom.

The next step for Vodacom Business is a pilot FTTx project. Rebelo said that they have already identified suitable areas for fibre network rollout, and will start with their first pilot deployment in the next few months.

Vodacom Business is planning to deploy their own fibre network instead of simply using an existing network from a company such as Dark Fibre Africa. A request for proposals (RFP) to build this fibre network will be sent out “soon”.

Vodacom Business will initially focus on the business market (hence office parks and business areas), with a strong focus on small and medium sized businesses.

Rebelo said that they will only roll out networks in areas where there is demand, and that the rollout will happen in a phased approach.

Janine Rebelo
Janine Rebelo

Many people have raised concerns about building a business case for fibre rollouts in South Africa, but Rebelo is confident that they can get it right. She says that they expect to cover the costs of the initial investment within a two to three year period.

Service offerings and potential pricing

Vodacom is initially planning services with speeds of up to 10Mbps to make the service more affordable, but Rebelo said that they can easily increase the speed to 50Mbps or 100Mbps if there is a demand.

Vodacom Business’ FTTx and FTTH services are still only in the concept stage (which means that only limited information is available), but early indications are that prices for the fibre based broadband offerings will be in line with ADSL rates.

Rebelo highlighted that people can expect great value for money with their overall fibre offering, which will partly be associated with Vodacom Business’ drive to offer affordable unified communications to businesses.

Small businesses can therefore expect a range of unified communications and cloud based offerings which can be bundled with an FTTx offering from Vodacom Business.

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Fibre broadband connectivity: Good news for SA