How to get fibre installed in your complex

Many people living in complexes and estates may struggle to get fibre installed despite coverage maps showing it is available in their area.

This is often because fibre network operators (FNOs) are unable to roll out fibre lines from the street to houses in these enclosed areas without obtaining the necessary permissions.

Rollouts in complexes and estates generally require the approval of relevant body corporates (BCs) or home owner’s associations (HOAs).

These bodies may be hesitant to allow for the installation of fibre due to perceived costs, possible damages to property, or disruption to the daily lives of residents.

Because of this, frustrated residents may be unable to sign up for a fibre connection.

MyBroadband spoke to major real estate agencies and FNOs about how residents can convince their body corporate or HOA to approve fibre installations.

Reach out to your ISP and pre-order

To get fibre installed in your complex or estate-based home, you may require the support of neighbours and community members.

“Most FNOs will avoid installing fibre to a single unit in a complex without making the entire complex fibre-ready,” Link Africa said.

“If an area or community is able to present clear detail of the addresses and residents wanting a service, it makes motivating the cost of building and requesting the necessary approvals that much more attractive for an infrastructure provider.”

Pam Golding area principal Gareth Bailey said one way to do this is to reach out to an ISP serving the area.

“Sign pre-order forms with ISPs to help them reach their threshold for installation in the area and perhaps encourage your complex or neighbourhood to commit in groups which will help to reach this threshold faster,” Bailey said.

He advised that any infrastructure installed must be done on an open basis to avoid complexes being limited to a specific provider at a potentially low service level or high cost. 

Convince your complex of the value of fibre

One case for the installation of fibre infrastructure is that it adds value to a property, according to RE/MAX Southern Africa CEO Adrian Goslett.

“Having a fibre-ready property is a huge drawcard for both buyers and tenants, which is why investors should not assume but rather check fibre availability within a suburb before going ahead with the purchase,” Goslett said.

Pam Golding Western Cape Rentals manager Dexter Leite said 90% of their potential tenants require or request fibre in rental homes.

“We have had potential tenants decline to apply for beautiful rental properties due to the absence of fibre in the street or area,” Leite said.

“We recommend it highly to add value to landlords’ rental properties and allow for ease of letting – as it could be a material selection criteria,” Leite said.

His views were echoed by Pam Golding area principal for Durban Coastal Carol Reynolds, who said potential tenants place great importance on a fibre connection.

“Hence fibre is particularly important for investment properties, where landlords are seeking strong rental returns,” Reynolds said.

Head of Fibre-to-the-Home at MetroFibre Networx Jacques de Villiers told MyBroadband another benefit to installing fibre was its application in video security systems.

“New generation security intelligence and CCTV will reduce the dependency on human decision making and dramatically improve security efficiency,” De Villiers explained.

“For estates and complexes, having reliable fibre presents a huge cost saving in the long run in terms of security costs, as well as the dramatic improvement in security quality and accountability,” he added.

Installation process

Once fibre rollout approvals are completed, continued accountability is important, Link Africa told MyBroadband.

“It starts with a site survey, a plan is then drawn up showing exactly how the fibre will be installed and trustees then have the opportunity to review and approve that plan,” Link Africa said.

Link Africa said there are a number of factors which could have bearing on the level of disruption, including the layout of the complex, the kind of material used in its construction and any existing telecoms infrastructure.

“Sometimes trenching is required and that can be an inconvenience – but contractors seek the most efficient and effective methods to deploy wherever possible,” Link Africa said.

“We do however reinstate to the same state that the area was in before and our teams are available to assist with any queries or concerns on site,” it added.

De Villiers explained construction typically begins with the reticulation of the network throughout the complex to all units, which takes up the bulk of time.

“Once this is completed, we urge residents to allow the team to complete the Access Build into their unit while the project is still active as this allows for a much quicker turnaround time,” he added.

Link Africa noted the total turnaround time of a project can range between two and six weeks.

Once the complex or estate is fibre-ready, individual orders can be completed in a matter of days, the company said.

What happens if something goes wrong

De Villiers assured there would be consequences for contractors should they cause damage to the premises.

“We obviously can run into issues like water pipes, irrigation and paving, but all these issues are addressed before the contractor leaves the site to ensure that all areas are restored to their same condition prior to the trenching work,” he noted.

“Contractors also pay penalties where they cause damage so it is in their interests to work carefully, neatly and restore any disturbed areas or damage that could occur.

“Contractors would be responsible for all reinstatement according to strict contractual agreements, however, if for whatever reason the contractor cannot complete or manage the reinstatement, the FNO would step in to ensure that the reinstate is speedily sorted,” De Villiers added.

Now read: South Africa’s free fibre speed upgrades – When they will end

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How to get fibre installed in your complex