Fibre is certainly not a new type of technology in South Africa – it has been around for almost a decade, but the roll-out has been slow and the majority of homes and businesses still have Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Lines (ADSL).
At the end of 2014, the SA government announced its National Broadband Policy known as “South African Connect”. The goal is to provide Fibre internet to all homes in South Africa by 2030, although it seems they did not realise how much of a challenge and how much work this would be, as it involves relaying all existing copper cables (used for ADSL) with Fibre alternatives.
Fibre roll-out in South Africa
According to BitCo, 93% of areas are on slow ADSL and don’t have the correct infrastructure, mostly in surrounding areas of cities. These areas, where most people rely on mobile broadband for internet access, will be the last to receive a decent internet connection in the form of Fibre.
“The most common challenge we see in Fibre roll-out is the time between infrastructure and deployment and recognising the return on investment” said Itnewsafrica. “When good proactive planning has not been done, the roll-out is jeopardised because decisions are made based upon poor data”.
The cost of the Fibre roll-out is still quite high.
Those to receive Fibre first, are the metropolitan and high LSM suburbs.
Fibre to the business and home is becoming increasingly viable in South African metro regions. As Fibre-optic is the latest option after ADSL, other regions will receive Fibre as the network grows and becomes more affordable.
The cost of Fibre-optic
According to Forbes, ILAs (In-Line Amplification Shelter) provide security for the electronics and the power required to keep the Fibre active – and these can be costly to build and maintain.
Forbes says, “This issue is one of the reasons why Fibre isn’t available everywhere. It’s logistically challenging, not to mention pricey, to bring Fibre into a new area”.