Vodacom intends rolling out high-speed fibre-optic broadband to 250 000 end points within the next three years. This will include connecting 150 000 homes and 100 000 businesses, the telecommunications operator’s CEO, Shameel Joosub, has told TechCentral.
Joosub says Vodacom has taken a cautious approach so far to building fibre access networks, but plans to ramp up its investment from next year, when it has budgeted to spend between R400m and R500m on the project.
By the end of its current financial year, it intends having 3 600 end points in service, which will include a number of housing estates.
The operator has started its fixed-line business slowly, mainly to ensure it has all the procedures and processes in place first.
Joosub says Vodacom’s acquisition of Neotel — if it’s allowed by regulators to proceed — will give the company a big leg-up as it expands its fixed-line offerings. He says it will allow Vodacom to build fibre access networks much quicker. The acquisition is, however, likely to encounter stiff opposition from some of its rivals.
MTN, meanwhile, is also believed to be gearing up for a big roll-out of fibre to the home nationwide, though it’s not yet known how many end points it’s targeting.
The entry of Vodacom and MTN into the space will present the first large and direct challenge to Telkom’s last remaining area of monopoly control — fixed lines into homes and small businesses.
Telkom itself is rolling out fibre, with plans to offer access to 100Mbit/s connections in 22 suburbs in Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town and Pretoria by the end of the year.
Stellenbosch-based start-up Vumatel is also deploying home fibre, starting with a project to wire up the Johannesburg suburb of Parkhurst. Dark Fibre Africa, which has traditionally played in the metropolitan and national fibre backhaul markets, is also getting in on the action, having won a contract last week from Parkview residents to build a home fibre network in the leafy Johannesburg suburb. — (c) 2014 NewsCentral Media