Vodacom Business, the internet division of South African telco Vodacom, has commenced the rollout of a series of fibre-optic networks in small Western Cape towns, including: Paarl, Stellenbosch, Somerset West and Wellington. Managing executive for products and marketing, Ermano Quartero, said that the deployment consists of 23km of fibre between Stellenbosch and Kuilsriver; 48km of cable in Somerset West; 49km in Paarl and Wellington, with 38km worth of ‘optic spurs’ deployed in Stellenbosch, Paarl and Somerset West. Quartero commented: ‘To provide customers with the services they demand we need a high-bandwidth, low-cost, reliable last-mile service. Vodacom Business is now able to meet these needs. The fibre-optic cables now installed in the Paarl-Wellington-Stellenbosch area bring high-speed, business-quality connectivity to the many companies situated in this important hub and open a wide variety of enterprise-class solutions to them’.
The small-scale fibre rollout seeks to compliment Vodacom Business’s larger projects in metropolitan areas; in March 2009 the telco teamed up with rivals Neotel and MTN to deploy a 5,000km fibre-optic cable network which will eventually allow them to bypass Telkom South Africa’s transport system completely, further liberating the market. The three companies pledged to spend up to ZAR2 billion (USD288 million) on the project, which is estimated could save the firms as much as ZAR6.3 billion in transmission costs over a ten-year period.