What are the coloured pipes all over?

2010-08-19 00:00

COMMUNICATIONS network operator Neotel is implementing a R500 million project that is set to substantially improve the capabilities of telecommunications networks in South Africa.

The project involves the installation of a national long-distance network that will stretch for over 5 000 km around the country.

Once completed, the network will create multiple routes that link the major cities of South Africa.

Angus Hay, Neotel spokesperson for network and technology, explained that the colourful cables seen along main roads are actually ducts through which optical fibre cables will be fed.

“The four colours of the cables represent the four parties that are involved in this joint initiative, which we refer to as a network co-build — Neotel (orange), MTN (yellow), Vodacom (blue), and the South African National Roads Agency Limited or Sanral (maroon),” said Hay.

“Three are obviously for telecommunications networks, and the fourth [Sanral] for linking cameras and traffic management systems associated with the roads themselves.”

Hay said that when the project is completed, South Africa will have a stronger communications network.

“Optical fibre, particularly when installed in buried ducts, is the most reliable infrastructure for communications. It is immune to electromagnetic interference and does not get stolen, as copper does.

“Optical fibre is also scalable to exceptionally high bandwidths. It is for this reason that we are deploying it to provide capacity for future growth of the Internet for several years.

“This will typically enable higher- speed Internet connectivity for Neotel’s business and individual customers, as well as for the various Internet service providers to whom we provide wholesale Internet.”

The cabling seen in Pietermaritzburg forms part of the route that will link Durban to Johannesburg via the N3. Hay said he expects this route to be completed by the end of the year.

“We have commenced construction on the Johannesburg-Cape Town route as well, which will be complete by the middle of next year. Other routes will follow after this.”

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