Fibre Internet is Not New

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”.

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Fibre-optic benefits

Fibre-optic technology is very reliable compared to ADSL as it is not affected by bad weather. It is also a lot faster than copper which is used for ADSL as it has a much higher bandwidth. The higher the bandwidth, the more amount of information can go through it.

Fibre-optic cables can handle 1,000 times more information than the traditional ADSL. This benefits both businesses and small business owners who work from home. For a growing business, Fibre is an excellent choice because you can scale your bandwidth.

Fibre-optic technology is secure

Fibre-optic cables are much more secure than copper cables, which is very important to keep data secure from information hackers. The reason why Fibre cables are safer in terms of hackers is that they do not radiate signals and it’s very hard to extract data from them.

To boot, especially in South Africa’s crime-ridden culture, Fibre cables are not worth anything in illegal sales so the threat of damage and financial loss, plus interrupted connection, are significantly decreased.

Over saturation in main cities

Whilst low LSM areas are having to wait for Fibre to become more affordable, Fibre is being installed at such a rapid rate in the key cities, that they will be saturated by 2020 says BitCo CEO Jarryd Chatz.

He says, “There will be little room to install Fibre in these cities, as a result, service providers will be compelled to look to untapped territories. This will force ISPs and telecoms companies into a battle to provide Fibre in rural areas and small towns, largely because of poor infrastructure and distances that need to be covered to reach users”.

Fibre-optic technology is becoming the norm around the world. The internet is no longer a ‘nice to have’ but a ‘must have”, just like utilities, and Fibre-optic technology will soon become just that. No longer a want but a necessity to keep up with the rest of the world.

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