With a pilot fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) project already underway in the Johannesburg suburb of Parkhurst, fibre service provider Vumatel has announced that it’s looking to expand its rollout to 42 suburbs in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Even though Vumatel has yet to actually connect any of Parkhurst’s homes to fibre – the first homes to get online will do so by the end of next month – the project has generated massive interest not only among Parkhurst’s residents, but also among homeowners’ associations, communities and residents around South Africa.
“People are fed up with expensive and poor internet services in South Africa,” says Vumatel CEO Niel Schoeman. “Our solution is to work with communities to turn their suburbs into high-speed open-access ‘fibrehoods’. The Parkhurst project is progressing well, with Internet service providers coming to the party with some attractive offerings. It’s a very exciting time, and we want to share this opportunity with a wider audience.”
The open-access nature of Vumatel’s network means that it won’t be the only provider offering services using the infrastructure. Instead, consumers will be able to choose from a range of service providers to provide actual connectivity over the network. Users can opt for line speeds ranging between 4Mbit/s and 1Gbit/s.
Vumatel is also canvassing for other interested neighbourhoods. The company has invited interested communities and individuals to register their interest on the company’s website using the same portal that allows people to check whether or not their neighbourhood is one of those Vumatel plans to offer services in.
“Neighbourhoods that express the most interest will receive fibre first,” says Schoeman. “Once a certain target is reached, we will know that there is sufficient interest in an area to support the initiative. Residents can also check how they are doing against other neighbourhoods, creating a healthy bit of competition.”
Aside from providing an alternative to Telkom’s copper network, fibre optic networks offer far higher speeds, making them particularly appealing for those looking to stream online video, play online games or for businesses looking for reliable, high-speed connectivity.
The 42 suburbs already identified include Bishopscourt, Camps Bay and Bakoven, Constantia, Fresnaye, Gardens, Mouille Point, Newlands, Oranjezicht, Sea Point, Tamboerskloof and Vredehoek in Cape Town.
Johannesburg suburbs earmarked by Vumatel include Atholl, Beverley, Blairgowrie, Douglasdale, Emmarentia, Forest Town, Fourways, Gallo Manor, Greenside, Houghton Estate, Hurlingham and Hurlingham Manor, Hyde Park, Illovo, Inanda and Chislehurston, Killarney and Riviera, Linden, Lonehill, Melrose and Birdhaven, Melville, Parkhurst, Parkmore, Parktown, Parktown North, Parkwood, Pine Slopes, River Club, Sandhurst, Saxonwold, Upper Houghton, Victory Park and Westcliff.