Fibre optic broadband access expansion in South Africa

Fibre broadband access in South Africa is expected to grow at an unprecedented rate in 2013. (Images source: CipherWave)Falling costs and increasing flexibility, allied to faster speeds and increased capacity, mean fibre is highly viable for corporate entities

Complete virtualisation is at the top of the agenda for many CIOs and IT executives in 2013. Cloud computing is set to quadruple from 2011 to 2016, according to a Global Cloud Index by Cisco, and will no longer even need a name, it will be so integral to the way business is done. The ‘cloud readiness’ of different countries and regions is part of the index projections and FTTP services are becoming critical to the sustainability of the virtualisation of business.

Fibre broadband access in South Africa is expected to grow at an unprecedented rate in 2013. CipherWave, a niche specialist IT company based in the country, is introducing fibre broadband connectivity to the premises (FTTP) with the lowest contentions and prices currently available on the local market. The offering is a bold move as it provides high value to business at a time when cloud computing is putting an ever-growing strain on internal networks and Internet access in the country.

What defines fibre deployment?
“Companies are increasingly reliant on data sharing, bandwidth-intensive applications, surfing, cloud access, downloads and uploads, VOIP, video conferencing and even unified communications with three or more of these capabilities being used simultaneously. There is a huge need for ultra-fast, stable connectivity and fibre can deliver broadband to a business better than any other medium," said Jonathan Mason, managing director of CipherWave.

Not all fibre broadband is made equal and FTTP is the most attractive of all the possible infrastructure set-ups. Fibre optic technology differs from wireless or DSL (copper-wired) broadband in that tiny fibre optic glass cables convert data carried by electrical signals into light and transport this fibre data at accelerated speeds. The ultimate capability of the technology far outweighs what copper or wireless cables could achieve.

"High speed broadband is already a necessity, and as businesses can only upgrade their DSL lines or networks a finite number of times, it's become an IT risk," comments Mason. "I maintain that fibre broadband is essential infrastructure for any business.”

Investing in installation, investing in provision
The cost of fibre broadband fell dramatically last year so providers in South Africa will be coming onto the scene in 2013 with various offerings. Watch out for high contentions and relatively low speeds due to fibre-with-copper offerings as well as 'fibre broadband’ that does not actually offer Internet services. The term 'broadband' has been loosely adopted to mean Internet, but if it doesn't say Internet, it isn't.

"Depending on your business needs, CipherWave offers an uncapped fibre broadband service with the lowest contention ratios on the market, as well as a soft-capped service with no contention and dedicated Internet access.

"We are focused on innovation and this is an aggressive move, but we intend to make a statement with our fibre broadband service. We are offering 99.9 per cent uptime, higher than any other provider," explained Mason.

Although these kinds of services are still relatively new to the South African market, a little competition has proven to be a good thing, with CipherWave offering the fastest fibre broadband lines around (they have a limit of up to 600 Mbps on request, but standard packages on offer include a 20 Mbps line). Consider also the investment cost of installation. There is no doubt that fibre broadband is the best you can get so if you can, take advantage of the specials available and invest with a decent provider who will give you a fully managed service and a financially backed SLA, with 99.5 per cent uptime.


Taken from Communications Africa Issue 3 2013

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