South Africa has seen several projects recently aimed at increasing connectivity across the country. A few of these include:
- Cape Town Improves its Network.
The City of Cape Town announced that it has signed eight third-party service provider agreements to improve its broadband network and is planning 20 more. This will be a major step in its universal broadband network strategy.
“The fibre optic network has reached the point where it is robust and extensive enough to be leveraged off by the private sector,” the City’s press statement said.
This is also expected to bring sustainable Wi-Fi to previously underserved areas that were previously not covered by service providers.
The fibre optic cables which provide the backbone of wireless networks are now being tested in Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain.
According to the City, “Once the technical model has been finalised, this will bring internet connectivity and other telecommunications services to over a million people living in areas which the private sector has not serviced adequately until now,” Cape Town said.
- New fibre to the home player
Telkom has been promising Fibre to the Home (FTTH) for a while now, but if they keep dragging their feet they might find themselves piped at the post by a start-up called Posix.
Posix Systems is a small ISP in Midrand which offers customers FTTH. Thus far, they have between 1,500 and 2,000 customers nationally, and have been selling ADSL supplied by MTN and Telkom.
At the moment, all ADSL is reliant on what Telkom provides. Mark Elkins, owner of Posix is planning to build his own fibre backhaul route between Pretoria and Johannesburg. Mark explained that: “Our FTTH route is from Rosebank to Midrand, Isando to Midrand and then from Midrand to Pretoria via Midstream Estate/Highveld, Irene, Cornwall Hill, Elarduspark, Menlyn, Lynnwood, The Willows, Equestria, Silver Lakes, Wapadrand, Faerie Glen and Garsfontein.” He added that Posix will offer FTTH services to customers along this route.
He continued: “If you are in, close to or between these areas, we can provide a 100Mbps or 1Gbps fibre connection. You can then get blindingly fast access to the majority of South African Content and a fixed contention ratio link to the rest of the Internet. No Caps, no Data shaping, just Pure Internet. Additional services can include Dial Tone (Telephone), TV Signal, Video on Demand, offsite backup and Cloud based services.”
- Microsoft’s Cheap Wireless Broadband Project
Microsoft SA recently announced that its project to roll out affordable wireless broadband to schools around the University of Limpopo has been initiated. While the official launch is not for a couple of months, several schools are already up and running.
The project is a joint venture between Microsoft, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the University of Limpopo, and local network builder, Multisource and is being used as a pilot for the use of TV whitespace (TVWS) for broadband connectivity.
A similar TVWS trial from WAPA, Google, TENET, e-Schools Network, and Meraka/CSIR was launched in Cape Town and is showing promising results.