MTN launching high speed fibre broadband

2014-04-24 07:23
(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town - Mobile operator MTN has revealed an aggressive move to deliver high speed internet connections to homes.

On Wednesday, MTN unveiled a plan to roll out fibre connections to homes in high density areas, based on a pilot operation to the residents of Monaghan Farm, north of Johannesburg.

"We are massively excited by the momentum that our pre-launch has already created. By pioneering the technology in South Africa (and indeed Africa, for the current set of speeds on offer), we are sealing our position as the provider of choice," said Eben Albertyn, chief Technology Officer of MTN SA.

Users of the network can expect speeds of around 100mbps, far higher than even the upgraded offerings from Telkom.

MTN said that 60% of the residents of Monaghan Farm have signed up for the service, though the company appears reticent to discuss the costs related.

Costs

The company said that costs would be determined on a "case-by-case basis, dependant on the amount of infrastructure and civil engineering required for each estate".

The programme follows an announcement by competitor Vodacom in 2013 that it intended to buy Neotel as a part of its strategy to deliver fibre to homes and businesses.

There are few options for South Africans who demand high speed internet connections as Telkom owns most of the hardware suitable for cable internet service.

The telco has also been trialling high speed broadband in Rosebank, Bryanston, and the Waterkloof where speeds of 90mbps were observed, but said that it would be government policy that would dictate national access.

"The DOC [department of communications] is driving the broadband policy and the plan; on the other hand as Telkom, we're going ahead with what we call a 'commercially led broadband plan'. We're modernising our network, were investing in fibre to the home especially in the big metropolitan areas, and that is going quite well," Telkom Group CEO Sipho Maseko recently told Talk Radio 702.


Broadband has been identified as a key priority for SA. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

South African political leadership has identified expanded broadband access as a key priority.

"The benefits of pervasive and affordable broadband are now well understood: Research suggests that a rise in broadband penetration is linked to economic growth and job creation," said Department of Communications Minister Yunus Carrim in 2013 at the South Africa Connect: Creating Opportunities, Ensuring Inclusion workshop.

Opportunities

MTN was bullish about the prospects for its broadband rollout and said that the service would open new opportunities for South Africans.

"What I look forward to the most, is how Fibre-to-the-Home opens up the door to making the Connected Home a reality," said Mike Fairon, general manager of Products and Solutions at MTN SA.

MTN said that the commercial launch of the fibre service is set for 1 June.


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