Conduct Telecommunications, a fibre-optic infrastructure developer backed by international private equity firm The Birchman Group, has completed a project in the Cape Town suburb of Claremont where it is providing open-access fibre to a number of businesses.
The company intends expanding its network to commercial precincts in Stellenbosch, Westlake, Muizenburg, Tygerberg, Bellville and Milnerton in coming weeks.
Last October, Conduct announced that it intended to spend R500m over a 24-month period expanding its network to 100 precincts around South Africa. The company already has an extensive network in Johannesburg that includes Hyde Park, Rosebank, Illovo, Chislehurston, Bryanston and Rivonia.
Like metropolitan and national infrastructure player Dark Fibre Africa, Conduct provides “unlit” fibre to Internet service providers (ISPs) rather than serving end users directly. In order to encourage uptake, Conduct proactively connects commercial premises to the unlit fibre so that third parties can sell capacity and services on it.
CEO Johan Pretorius says Conduct focuses on last-mile connectivity. “There is sufficient network capacity deployed in the cities by several operators, we are not duplicating this,” he explains. “The problem is getting from these fibre routes into the buildings and to the end customer. This is where we are focusing on closing the gap.”
Although the adoption of fibre is growing steadily, Pretorius says it remains relatively expensive for most enterprises. “However, by installing on risk, we leverage economies of scale to improve efficiencies and drive down costs, which in turn sparks adoption.”
Pretorius says Conduct is creating an environment that stimulates growth in this market by putting the fibre infrastructure in place. “We need to create new and dynamic markets for ISPs. Once open-access fibre is in place, better services will emerge as service providers compete for clients.”
More than 2 000 businesses are connected to Conduct’s network and the company aims to expand its network further in Johannesburg and Cape Town this year and has set a target of connecting over 8 000 enterprises to open-access fibre by the end of next year.
Service providers use Conduct’s network to supply anywhere between 2Mbit/s and 1Gbit/s connections to businesses. — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media