Nedbank Corporate and Investment Banking is buying a 25% stake in Comsol, joining shareholder Convergence Partners, as the company gets ready to spend hundreds of millions of rand building a fibre and wireless broadband network in South Africa.
The telecommunications company said on Tuesday that it is launching Comsol Fibre Connect, South Africa’s “first and only nationwide, open-access, high-speed, carrier-grade data network”.
The network will connect enterprises in major metros and in small towns, it said.
Initial funding of more than half a billion rand is being provided by Convergence Partners, Nedbank Private Equity and the Industrial Development Corp.
In addition to the funding raised for the initial roll-out, Comsol, which is led by CEO Iain Stephenson (pictured above), said it expects to spend a further R1bn on existing fibre infrastructure and leased fibre.
“In addition to its extensive coverage in the major metros, cities and district councils, Comsol will connect over 200 towns and cities across the country via Comsol Fibre Connect,” the company said. “Deployment in outlying areas has begun, with the majority of towns to be connected by December this year.”
Comsol Fibre Connect will offer both fibre and wireless solutions to other carriers and service providers, offering speeds of between 2Mbit/s and 1Gbit/s.
“The combination of a fibre-optic backbone with a high-speed, fully licensed wireless infrastructure provides near blanket coverage of metros, cities and district councils,” it said in a statement.
Convergence Partners chairman Andile Ngcaba said Comsol will take advantage of millimetre-wave wireless spectrum technologies to deliver access across the country, including in underserviced parts of the country.
Comsol was founded in 1997 and has installed thousands of wireless connections across Africa. It said it has several “highly sought-after and strategic national spectrum licences issued by [communications regulator] Icasa”.
The spectrum in question is in the 28GHz band, a band earmarked for 5G connectivity. Comsol has access to 31% of the band and is integrating its existing high sites with high-capacity, licensed, point-to-point microwave links to its partners’ fibre networks, terminating at data centre operator Teraco’s facilities.
Comsol Fibre Network will be an open-access, carrier-grade network, it said. It will be available through major operators, Internet service providers and content providers. – © 2016 NewsCentral Media