South African start-up Vumatel, which recently won a project to deploy a fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network in Parkhurst, an upmarket suburb of Johannesburg, is reportedly planning to deploy fibre-optic broadband to around 200,000 homes in around 100 locations across South Africa over the next three to four years, at an estimated cost of ZAR2 billion-ZAR3 billion (USD186 million-USD279 million), TechCentral reports. Vumatel CEO Niel Schoeman has revealed that the company is planning to create an alternative fixed ‘last mile’, which will operate using an open access model, where anyone can lease access to the infrastructure. Currently, 15% of Parkhurst ’s residents have signed up for fibre broadband, with promises of download speeds as high as 1Gbps; Vumatel says that the project will be feasible with a commitment from around 30% of the community (with a potential 2,100 homes connectable by FTTH in the suburb). Schoeman was quoted as saying that Vumatel has a list of subsequent suburbs to target, but declined to name them so that the company can focus on the Parkhurst project, which should see the first customers come online by October 2014 and the area’s FTTH rollout completed by February 2015. The executive added: ‘Our ambition is to roll out [services] to 200,000 houses over the next three-to-four years, which equates to about 100 suburbs … We are not trying to solve a national problem. [TV] white-spaces spectrum, Wi-Fi and mobile will also play a big role.’
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