Vumatel has completed the planning for the first phase of its fibre network build for Alexandra, and is waiting on the required regulatory approvals.
Announced in September 2017, Vumatel initially hoped to have completed construction of the first phase by the end of March 2018.
“Surveying and planning for the rollout have taken longer than anticipated, given the complexity of the geography of Alexandra,” Vumatel told MyBroadband.
As a result, the civil component of the project has not started.
Uncapped 100Mbps for R89
With the pilot project, Vumatel plans to offer uncapped fibre broadband services to the residents of Alexandra for R89 per month.
It aims to do this in a way that is commercially-sustainable, without subsidising the township network with profits from clients in affluent suburbs.
To achieve this, Vumatel said its service in townships will not be the same as in the suburbs.
It said it does not “contend” lines in the suburbs. In other words, as far as your download connection is concerned, each house in a suburb effectively has its own line.
Vumatel states that in the underlying gigabit passive optical networking layer, connections are statistically uncontended.
For its township broadband project, Vumatel will run lines at a 1:20 contention ratio. This means that 20 homes will effectively share the same main line to the Internet.
Vumatel will also roll out fibre by hanging cables overhead from poles, which is faster and cheaper than trenching.
Plans for the project have been submitted to the municipal council for approval.
“Once we receive these approvals, we will proceed with the first phase of the project,” said Vumatel.
Connecting 10 million South Africans
If the pilot in Alexandra is successful, Vumatel said it will replicate the model in Diepsloot.
If it can repeat the success of this project, it plans to connect every township its current network touches.
Within the next two years, Vumatel aims to connect 2.5 million homes and 10 million township residents to fibre broadband.