Outdated policies hurting fibre roll-out

2011-09-07 18:01

East London - Outdated policies and pedantic approval from local government is hurting the rapid roll-out of fibre for broadband in SA and proving costly, according to Dark Fibre Africa.

Speaking at the Southern Africa Telecommunication Networks and Applications Conference (Satnac) in East London, Eastern Cape, Gustav Smit, CEO of Dark Fibre Africa said: "Unfortunately there are some challenges in this industry at the moment in terms of fibre roll-out.

"It's a slow and costly process to put fibre into the ground," he said.

Smit said that the fact that city councils, provincial and national road owners controlled fibre roll-out, was costing the industry and the country dearly.

He highlighted the urgent need for more fibre and at a quicker pace, however he pointed to an additional prohibitor, namely that it could take between six and nine months to get permission to lay fibre at certain bridge crossings or railway areas. "We can't take that kind of thing," Smit said. He called for assistance from the Department of Communications (DoC) and city councils wherever possible to speed up the administration procedure.

Industry fragmented

"This industry is very fragmented. In some city councils we find policies that are 50-60 years old," Smit said. "It's impossible to get those things revised," he added. He said a co-ordinated effort was required to rewrite policies.

The CEO acknowledged that authorities were there to protect roads, but added that "they don't necessarily understand the economic benefits of fibre".

He said that very few business models existed to recover the cost of installing fibre into a building.

He provided an example of a fibre stretching 10km at a cost to a single customer of R50 000, but added that servicing more people would reduce costs. "Fibre is a numbers game," Smit said.

He called on ISPs to develop business plans that catered for fibre.

  • braamc - 2011-09-07 19:41

    Shouldn't it been researched in your business plan prior the installation and roll out?

  • JudithNkwe - 2011-09-07 19:52

    Why doesn't he make a proper business case for this, so that things can be changed where required?

  • Pickle - 2011-09-07 21:42

    "Unfortunately there are some challenges in this industry at the moment in terms of fibre roll-out. Yea that's probably because telkom is the monopoly -_-

  • Badballie - 2011-09-08 09:16

    Sounds like Telkom is delaying the roll out to ensure maximum profits are realized at inflated prices. the cable roll out is critical to us having world class internet connectivity, which contrary to popular belief we are no where near achieving. Government is drawing this out as long as possible.

  • gustav.smit1 - 2011-09-08 10:27

    Braamc, the business model of DFA is one of creating infrastructure on an "Open Access" basis to enable Service Providers to get to the kerb in front of a building. We build metro core rings that are connected to the submarine cables etc. We build one infrastructure to enable all, which is driving the pricing on these links down. The last mile into a building, can only be sold to one customer, and therefor do not form part of our business model. We need more players in the Access / Last mile space. I believe ISP's should mobilise communities to get involved and create a "numbers game" that works for all. Google "FTTH" or even "Fibre to the farm" and you will see many examples of communities getting involved, BUT, they need Service providers which can support them in delivering a service.

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