Vodacom is in the fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) broadband race against equally well-funded rivals to win it, not to come second, chief officer Vuyani Jarana said on Wednesday.
Jarana, who heads Vodacom Business, which is looking after the operator’s fibre-to-the-business and FTTH initiatives, told TechCentral that Vodacom has an “aggressive” roll-out plan and has appointed a team, led by managing executive Louisa van Beek, to champion the project. He described it as the company’s next big focus area.
“The big race now is the race for the home,” Jarana said. “Those who get to the home first will succeed.”
He said none of the big telecommunications players in South Africa is in a “particularly privileged position”. What will be key in the longer term is not so much the fibre access that gets provided, but the services operators provide on top of it.
He said Vodacom intends to be the leading FTTH player in South Africa and the “preferred provider” for customers. He added that the operator, like its competitors, will deploy fibre on an “open access” basis, meaning third-party service providers, including ISPs, will be able to use the fibre to offer services to homeowners.
The company has developed a roadmap for its roll-out and has already begun placing sales and marketing agents on the ground in areas where it intends to deploy infrastructure.
“It takes time to deliver and you can create anxiety [in a community],” Jarana said. “You have to do pre-marketing in an area and engage community by community.”
Those wanting to receive fibre in their area can express their interest online, via the call centre or in a Vodacom store.
The small and medium enterprise (SME) market is also a big focus for Vodacom with its fibre roll-out, Jarana said. The SME space has been served mainly by Telkom’s legacy copper network through copper ADSL. “Telkom still does not have high-speed broadband to serve SMEs,” he said. He said Vodacom hopes to address demand in this space. — © 2015 NewsCentral Media