City of Joburg plans fibre-to-the-home project

In January 2010, BWired – the company tasked with ‘connecting’ the City of Johannesburg – was officially launched.

BWired was formed after Ericsson South Africa was chosen to partner with the city in its billion rand Joburg Broadband Network Project (JBNP) in February 2009. BWired is set to provide voice and data communications throughout the city. The primary focus of the JBNP is on connectivity in rural areas, and the project began in Orange Farm, in the south of Joburg.

At a press briefing held at Westbury Secondary school in Johannesburg, Ericsson and BWired showcased the Martindale point of presence (PoP) on the Joburg Broadband Network.

Executive director of BWired, Musa Nkosi, gave an update on the status of the project. Nkosi reported that they have spent R250 million in the trenching and deployment of just over 300km of fibre in nine core rings that link the South (Soweto) to Midrand. He added that they have over 600km of fibre and another R600 million to go.

According to Nkosi they have connected 100 buildings, which puts the project three months ahead of schedule. BWired further explained that they currently have one STM-1 link at 155 Megabits per second (Mbps) active for international access, which can be expanded to 13 STM-1’s as demand requires.

Nkosi said that City of Johannesburg buildings are connected at about 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps), though more capacity is available to them. Desktop users are to experience access speeds of up to 100 Mbps, Nkosi said. The whole network has a design capacity of 1.2 Terabit per second (Tbps).

The City of Johannesburg said that the City itself may use as little as a third of this capacity. The rest may be sold on to whoever wants to make use of it.

City of Joburg intends to use the project to roll out fibre to the home, said Jason Ngobeni, executive director of economic development for the City.

Asked about potential duplication of fibre routes, BWired said that they have taken into account where other routes run, but have also focussed on providing access to areas other networks don’t cover.

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City of Joburg plans fibre-to-the-home project