Dark Fibre Africa (DFA) continues to expand its fibre network, and is set to roll out a lot more fibre going forward, DFA acting chief strategy officer Vino Govender has told MyBroadband.
DFA is owned by Community Investment Ventures Holdings (CIVH), which in turn is owned by a group of investors including Remgro, New GX Capital Holdings, Chlanich, Community Investment Holdings (CIH), and Consolidated Capital Investments.
CIVH also owns MCT Telecommunications, and recently acquired 34.9% of Vumatel – with plans to acquire the remaining 65.1% after funding and regulatory approvals.
Vumatel has an 8,000km-long fibre network, while DFA has rolled out around 13,000km of fibre infrastructure.
Together, the two fibre providers may synergise well, said Govender.
Working with Vumatel
Govender stated the potential full acquisition of Vumatel is happening at the CIVH level, and currently is not a controlling interest in the company.
“When we reach the stage where CIVH has a significant shareholding and control in Vumatel, we will have to look at what we can get out of having both businesses,” said Govender.
He said the companies could work well together and improve accessibility with regards to backhaul services and network scaling.
“The two companies will complement each other from a network perspective and there could also be synergies in terms of back office and operations functions, too.”
“Both companies working together would aid in reaching more consumer and SME markets,” he added.
Govender said Vumatel and DFA both being owned by CIVH would allow for improved backhaul services for technologies like 5G.
“I think if you also had to look at 5G deployment and base stations starting to roll out in suburbs, there is opportunity on the back of the network to bring in the backhaul services for that.”
Govender said 5G is a big opportunity for growth for DFA, and it is actively working on 5G trials.
“On the wholesale-operator type model, one of the most exciting things for us is 5G. We have been approached to work on 5G trials with mobile operators which is great, because it allows us to not just test our network for 5G, but also have a deeper understanding of what the traffic profile is going to be when we fully deploy our network,” said Govender.
“This will allow us to be more informed in terms of what the fibre architecture must look like and how we aggregate traffic.”
DFA’s fibre expansion strategy is also based on expanding its footprint and densifying its network, said Govender.
“We are close to around 13,000km of fibre deployed,” he said.
“This is based on both expanding the footprint as well as densifying the network.”
Network densification is necessary to activate more buildings that its infrastructure is passing, and to provide redundancy and security to those buildings.
“It is not just about passing premises, but connecting them as well.”
DFA plans to roll out a lot more fibre this year, along with growing second-layer services on top of the network, said Govender.