Government’s telecommunications infrastructure business Broadband Infraco will be ready for commercial launch in a few weeks, says CEO Dave Smith.
Smith says that after years of putting together a national fibre network, testing with the other telecoms providers has begun.
He says Infraco has installed 12 000km of fibre connecting networks in the metropolitan areas and is now building open points of presence that will allow easy connection between telecoms players.
He says government has mandated Infraco to take infrastructure to underserviced areas and sell wholesale services to local alternative telecoms providers at the lowest cost possible.
“We are not bringing the last mile, but we have to provide access to the national backbone into those areas. We will provide the mechanism for licensed players to bring the last mile to underserviced areas,” he says.
Infraco is also an investor in the West Africa Cable System, a 5,1Tbit/s cable being constructed between Cape Town and London.
“We will need access to that capacity for large local projects that need good connectivity, like the proposed radio telescope network,” he says.
SA is bidding against Australia to host the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope project.
However, Infraco will face a tough industry with national wholesale prices plummeting. According to Smith, incumbent Telkom has cut these charges by more than half in the past 12 months, before new competitors have even launched.
Smith says Telkom’s wholesale price reductions and the impact of new undersea cables will give Infraco less flexibility to compete on price. — Candice Jones, TechCentral