Plan for fibre network

High-speed internet is on the cards for Goodwood Estate, Richmond Estate and Richmond, with fibre infrastructure provider Vumatel saying they’re among the areas it has earmarked for the service.

The City of Cape Town has given the Johannesburg-based company “non-exclusive rights” to use low-voltage electricity poles to string cable for its open-access fibre network.

Caroline van der Westhuizen, Vumatel’s business development manager, said the firm would also use trenching, where needed.

“Our model is to provide every home with a fibre line; for them to make use of when they are ready,” she said.

Ms Van der Westhuizen said Vumatel was still in the infancy stages of “driving awareness” in Goodwood.

“So far the response has been very positive. We value community involvement and engagement throughout the project, which is why, as a first step, we approach the relevant neighbourhood watches and resident associations in the area, as well as keep the ward councillors involved in the process, to

help spread the message throughout the community.”

Raelene Arendse, mayoral committee member for corporate services, confirmed that Vumatel had requested the possible use of fibre backhaul through the City of Cape Town network.

Fibre backhaul involves the transmission of network data over an alternative wireless route when the normal route is unavailable or overtaxed.

Ms Van der Westhuizen said Vumatel saw Goodwood as a “viable area” for its fibre and “we are driving interest to reach our 30 percent show-of-support target which we have no doubt will be easily achievable”.

Siyabulela Mamkeli, mayoral committee member for area central, said the City and Fibrehoods, a Vumatel contractor, had an agreement that existing low-voltage poles might be used for fibre cabling.

“At this stage, there is no proposed roll-out of aerial infrastructure in Goodwood, as there are no existing overhead poles available. Roll-outs in Goodwood will most likely be standard operations inside the road reserve where services will be installed underground.

“A wayleave approval and permit-to-work are required before any implementation will be allowed,” he said.

Believing there was a huge demand in the country for cheap, fast internet, Richmond Estate resident Robert Hordijk started the Facebook group, Goodwood Fibre, two years ago, to generate interest in fibre among residents and have them sign up with various fibre providers.

Mr Hordijk said he had also been motivated to start the group because of “empty promises” by a competing telecommunications company.

Mr Hordijk, who is a member of the Sector 1 Goodwood Neighbourhood Watch, said he and resident Sabri Toefy had facilitated Vumatel’s engagement with the community at a watch meeting earlier this year.

“I’ve created a post for residents to leave comments on the Facebook group.

“I’m also glad and very excited that Vumatel is showing interest in our area. Vumatel’s network is open-access, and residents have plenty of internet service providers (ISP) to choose from,” he said.

Mr Toefy said the possible roll-out by Vutamel was “awesome”, as not only homes, but schools and businesses would also benefit from much better speeds at an “affordable” price.

“So, I have been trying to get fibre to the area by contacting all the service providers but up until now only Vumatel and no other ISPs have shown interest,” he said.

Pynee Chetty, a spokesman for Telkom, which launched Openserve, its own fibre offering in 2015 said fibre to the home allowed people to download speeds of up to 100 megabits per second (Mbps), allowing users to download a standard definition 4.7GB video in under seven minutes.

“Fibre-optic cables transmit light and are thus not affected by interference from electromagnetic noise such as radios, motors, power lines, electric fences or other cables.

“Consequently, fibre broadband offers greater reliability and stability,” Mr Chetty said.

According to Openserve’s website, it wants to reach one million homes with fibre by next year and “already has the largest fibre network in the country”.

Meanwhile, Vumatel has already rolled out fibre in some parts of Durbanville and the roll-out in Edgemead has just begun.

“Edgemead will be going live towards the end of October, and, at that stage, they will experience speeds like they never have before,” said Ms Van der Westhuizen.