Altech Alcom Matomo has won a tender worth R1,2bn from the Gauteng provincial government to build a province-wide fibre-optic broadband network over the next five years.
Alcom Matomo, a subsidiary of technology and telecommunications group Altech, will be responsible for designing, building and operating the network over a five-year period. Thereafter, it will be transferred to the provincial government, which will take ownership of the network.
Services that will be offered include Internet access at speeds of 1Gbit/s and 10Gbit/s in both symmetrical and asymmetrical configurations, virtual private networking and voice telephony.
The network will provide core connectivity, with “ancillary projects” such as e-learning solutions to follow.
The network will connect Gauteng government buildings and community service centres. The province says fibre will be rolled to 20 “priority townships”.
Capacity on the fibre-optic network will be leased to both private- and public-sector organisations, Gauteng’s department of finance says in a statement.
“During January 2013, the provincial government’s ambitious broadband project was initiated with a tender invitation for the conceptualisation, construction and maintenance of a broadband network that would incorporate 1 600km of high-speed fibre optics,” the statement says.
“This initiative sought to provide network coverage to 95% of the Gauteng’s population; acquire and use information and communications technologies in a manner that leverages economies of scale; and provide cost-effective services, and ensure interoperability of its information systems with those of other government institutions.”
Finance MEC Mandla Nkomfe says in the statement that the network will ensure Gauteng residents “are able to access Internet effortlessly”.
The province quotes 2011 census data that shows that only 35,2% of Gauteng residents have access to the Internet.
“This situation is untenable and cannot be allowed to continue unchecked, especially because we live in the information age. Therefore, the only way for this government to transform this country is by providing our people with easy and affordable access to information, so that they can empower themselves,” says Nkomfe in the statement.
The province says the broadband network plan emanates from a comprehensive communications technology strategy and is intended to transform Gauteng into a “smart province and a connected global city region” by offering converged services, including video, voice and data, to provincial government buildings, public schools, hospitals and social welfare facilities. — (c) 2014 NewsCentral Media