South African telco MTN has reportedly connected the first customers to its fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network in the Monaghan Farm estate, located 30km north of Johannesburg, according to news source MyBroadband. Eben Albertyn, CTO at MTN SA, was quoted as saying: ‘The rollout of FTTH in Monaghan Farm is progressing well, with 75% of the homes already connected and enjoying the benefits of this high-speed network, the remaining homesteads will be connected in the next two weeks,’ adding that commercial agreements with the home owners association have been concluded. The executive stated: ‘Discussions are progressing positively with other areas that have shown interest.’ MTN said that its FTTH offers in Monaghan Farm vary based on desired internet speed – ranging from 10Mbps to 100Mbps. Although the operator said that pricing is currently only available to residents, and is negotiated on a case-by-case basis (and dependent on the amount of infrastructure and civil engineering required for each estate), unconfirmed reports revealed that potential users need to pay three monthly fees in order to access the service – an access fee, a line speed fee and a data charge; the introductory offer with 5GB of data allowance with downlink of 10Mbps is priced at ZAR819 (USD76.46), while top-end 500GB data package at download speeds of 100Mbps cost ZAR3,729. Further, subscribers reportedly need to pay one-off levies for installation (ZAR1,999), line activation (ZAR500) and customer premises equipment (ZAR1,000).
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, the operator initially hoped to introduce a commercial 100Mbps FTTH broadband service in the country on 1 June 2014, following successful demonstration of the Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) technology at the Monaghan Farm estate on 12 April. Robin Maduray, general manager of Transmission Planning and Optimisation at MTN, disclosed in June that MTN’s transmission network has grown exponentially since 2009 and comprises approximately 12,000km of lit fibre, with 5,000 active microwave links. He commented: ‘MTN’s FTTH deployment is progressing smoothly and some residents will enjoy the benefits of high speed broadband connectivity in a few weeks … Furthermore, MTN has built strategic microwave routes in rural areas to complement the fibre rollout, and is similarly investigating partnerships with other interested parties.’