For COVID-19 updates, visit the official government website www.sacoronavirus.co.za for free.
Fibre to the Home brings massively increased speed to internet users in selected residential areas of South Africa. FTTH gives super-fast, instant and uninterrupted internet connectivity, since information gets coded in a beam of light and travels down glass cables instead of copper wires or radio waves.
FTTH providers like Vodacom are able to keep increasing bandwidth without having to replace the cables, so FTTH is one of those great technological innovations that is built to last.
Vodacom is actively pursuing FTTH as a business.
But unless you live in one of the select suburbs in Gauteng, Durban, Cape Town, Limpopo, Port Elizabeth or Bloemfontein that Vodacom supplies with FTTH, you won’t have access to its many benefits.
Why is fibre not available countrywide?
Vodacom's Zubair Munshi, Executive Head: Sales and Marketing, explains:
'FTTH requires considerable capital up-front for it to be rolled out because there is very little existing fibre-optic infrastructure in South Africa. Vodacom is committed to providing as many South Africans as possible with FTTH, but we need to deploy our own fibre-optic infrastructure to do so.
'This is enormously expensive, and takes a lot of time. We need to dig trenches to lay the cables – essentially digging up public or private roads. And there are only so many people you can put in a trench at one time. Basically, the provision of fibre is a construction project. It takes as long to lay the cables for FTTH as it does to lay a whole new road.
'Other than the physical constraint of the time it takes to dig up trenches and lay the cables, the speed with which we can supply different areas with FTTH is also limited by the time it takes to get approvals for the project. In some areas, it can take from nine months to a year before we get approval to start building the infrastructure.'
Vodacom’s commitment to FTTH
But Zubair explains that there is light at the end of the tunnel – Vodacom is actively pursuing FTTH as a business.
'While this kind of infrastructure has been lagging in this country for a very long time, Vodacom has taken a clear view that we will make the investment, methodically installing fibre in areas where we get the approvals, and especially where we have some of Vodacom's background infrastructure so that we can extend it.
'As it stands, we are building to supply around 12 000 homes – with some of these homes due to be connected in the next couple of weeks. We also have plans to supply Vodacom Fibre to 18 000–20 000 homes, and then, later, to over 100 000 homes. Next year, we’ll be even closer to our targets, as we’re currently busy with increasing our build capacity that will speed things up.
'We’re even engaging with partners who have laid their own infrastructure and hope to offer our services utilising their cables. Once these agreements have been concluded, we’ll have lots of exciting announcements to make. Watch this space.'
What you can do
Go to Vodacom Online to check if your neighbourhood is currently covered by Vodacom’s FTTH networks.
If it isn’t, register your interest (clink on the 'please register' link), and tell all your neighbours to do the same, so that Vodacom can prioritise your area. The more interest Vodacom sees from a suburb, the more likely it is that they will roll it out there next.