South Africa’s Telkom has outlined plans to connect one million homes to fibre by 2018
At the end of August 2015, the communication services provider has already connected 38,000 homes to fibre, and has 1,317 LTE sites in its network. The company will double the fibre rollout to 70,000 homes by the end of this year, and will further increase capacity to connect 150,000 homes by March 2016, and 500,000 homes by the end of 2016.
While Telkom’s fibre rollout for large metropolitan areas will continue, the company is working with the government to provide broadband services to under-serviced parts of the country. Telkom CEO, Sipho Maseko, told delegates at the Southern African Telecommunications Networks and Applications Conference that there was a need to recognise the digital divide in South Africa.
“We must recognise that the issue of access lies at the heart of the divide. You either have access or you don’t. It’s as simple as that. To cross the digital divide, you must provide universal access,” said Maseko.
Calling on other mobile operators to join Telkom in bridging this digital divide, Maseko said, “If we are to overcome the access deficit, and in light of the mobile revolution and the benefits this has engendered, South Africa needs to see wholesale access to the mobile local loop and active sharing of the radio access network. This is an imperative and an important precursor for democratising broadband.”
Maseko also urged the telecommunications regulator to reconsider its spectrum strategy so that enables a fairer distribution of spectrum.