Presented by Frogfoot Networks

Meeting South Africa’s growing demand for fibre

By Shane Chorley, Head of Sales and Marketing at Frogfoot

Despite the challenges brought about by COVID-19 and the national lockdown, one of which was having to stop trenching for almost two months, Frogfoot Networks was still able to drive fibre investment and provide households with the fast, affordable, and reliable internet connectivity they so desperately needed.

Importantly, this also meant creating an understanding of the fact that even though the economy might be constrained, fibre has become critical to people’s livelihoods.

Whether this means working from home or looking for a job, engaging with loved ones via social media, or expanding knowledge and skills with online courses, fibre provides the building blocks of what is now considered to be the ‘new normal’.

An essential service

Fibre has proven to be indispensable for more than remote working. It now serves as an essential function for online schooling and shopping at a time when people are focused on staying healthy and safe.

Even those going on holiday are looking for places that have robust internet connectivity to support video calls and streaming services.

Moreover, with the demand for Cloud services and remote working exploding, Frogfoot has had to ensure its network has been able to deliver the throughput required to still provide an exceptional experience.

In fact, such has been the immense growth in demand for data, many ISPs have seen their network traffic doubling over the past 12 months.

Going the distance

At Frogfoot, we have doubled the size of our network and significantly expanded our footprint to smaller towns across the country.

To support users in those towns, we have had to focus on the provisioning of high-speed national long distance services.

Despite the challenging economic conditions, Frogfoot has been fortunate to raise enough capital to facilitate these new builds.

As such, the number of ISPs on our network has grown by 30% – driven largely by our commitment to an open access environment.

For us, it is critically important to work with local ISPs operating in these towns to enable end users to get access to high-speed connectivity.

Remarkably, we did not shed any jobs through retrenchments and are still subcontracting to almost 4,000 people.

Indeed, Frogfoot has remained focused on driving the business forward despite the downsizing taking place at so many other companies.

For us, this meant not only growing the business but also integrating the health and safety of our workers during the pandemic.

To this end, we have done significant work to ensure our staff are protected when doing home installations, while also ensuring that customers are kept safe.

Performing almost 4,000 installations a month during lockdown was an intense time from a health protocol perspective.

Throughout this, it has been a case of remaining cognisant of the seriousness of the pandemic, while still expanding the network and keeping everybody healthy.

Building on successes

Some of the campaign successes over the past year include the Double Up initiative whereby Frogfoot upgraded customers’ lines to double their usual speed, free of charge. We are one of the few FNOs still running such an incentive.

Furthermore, we are doing free installations in various areas to remove the barrier to entry, and are working closely with our network of contractors to ensure that we provide a faster service.

Testament to the investment and work done during 2020 is being awarded the Best Fibre Provider for 2020 by MyBroadband.

The accolade reflects how well we have performed in spite of the challenges over the last year.

According to MyBroadband, Frogfoot stood out from the rest because of its aggressive expansion in 2020 and the decision to extend the double-the-speed campaign long after it was supposed to end.

Source: MyBroadband

Despite the uncertainty that lies ahead, we aim to continue on the same trajectory and at least add another third to the size of our network.

We have also begun a massive network refresh that will further enhance our infrastructure, taking us through to September.

Frogfoot has also been investing in technology that enables it to better deal with the ongoing threat of load shedding.

In some instances, there has been load shedding twice daily, so it has been imperative to invest in upgraded nodes with additional backup power to keep our users connected.

Looking ahead, the only thing we know for sure about 2021 is that fibre will continue to be the key enabler for how people work, live, and relax.

And for that, Frogfoot will remain the trusted partner of choice to ISP’s.

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Meeting South Africa’s growing demand for fibre