Telkom recently revealed that it has rolled out more than 157,400 kilometres of fibre in South Africa.
The company said its network connects over 2.5 million premises, and that it plans to continue investing to improve its infrastructure.
“Our capital investment across core and aggregation will enable us to deploy one terabit per second throughput within the next 18-24 months, creating a future-proof network that is ready for exponential growth in data consumption,” said Telkom.
“Fibre deployment remains a key future enabler for end-user connections, as well as small cells in mobile networks.”
To get a sense of the scale of Telkom’s network, it is useful to compare it to its biggest competitors in South Africa – such as Liquid Telecom, Broadband Infraco, and Dark Fibre Africa.
Telkom was asked to provide an updated map of its national fibre network, but the company did not respond by the time of publication.
The map below from 2012, when Telkom’s fibre network was around 10,000km shorter, provides an idea of the scale of the deployment.
Liquid Telecom’s African network spans over 50,000km across borders, and includes The East Africa Fibre Ring.
It lays claim to being the largest single-fibre network on the continent. In July 2018, Liquid Telecom signed an agreement with Telecom Egypt to complete construction of a terrestrial fibre network from Cape Town to Cairo.
Liquid Telecom’s linear network route in South Africa is over 16,000km.
State-owned enterprise Broadband Infraco has around 15,000km of fibre in the ground.
Rumours of a merger between Broadband Infraco and Telkom in 2016 were met with resistance from the telecommunication industry as the government would have unilaterally added to Telkom’s substantial competitive advantage.
Dark Fibre Africa
Dark Fibre Africa has around 13,000km of fibre in the ground.
It is owned by Community Investment Ventures Holdings, a venture holding firm owned by a group of investors – Remgro, New GX Capital Holdings, Chlanich, Community Investment Holdings, and Consolidated Capital Investments.
Vumatel was recently acquired by CIVH and has over 8,000km of fibre in the ground in the Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban areas.
Another fibre infrastructure company in South Africa with significant assets in the ground is FibreCo.
Its network spans around 4,000km, and includes lines connecting major cities as well as metro fibre rings.