Frogfoot accelerates fibre-to-the-community drive

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 26 Jun 2023
Shane Chorley, CEO of Frogfoot.
Shane Chorley, CEO of Frogfoot.

Fibre network operator Frogfoot Networks says it has deployed over 6 800km of fibre across SA, as it shifts gear to target connecting locals living in high-density areas.

The licensed open-access fibre network provider, which is part of Vivica Holdings, formerly known as Vox, says it is positioning for the next phase of growth, which includes tapping into SA’s under-serviced, low-income areas and secondary cities and towns.

In an e-mail interview, Shane Chorley, CEO of Frogfoot, told ITWeb that the company has invested in a multi-dimensional approach, to drive growth through initiatives such as its fibre-to-the-community drive, as well as offering fibre-to-the-tower (FTTT) to mobile operators.

“We are trialling delivering fibre to high-density communities around the country's traditionally underserved communities and major urban centres, where we can bring connectivity to the highest number of users,” notes Chorley.

“Frogfoot is also driving growth in several ways – efforts that have been ongoing include connecting more businesses to our network (fibre-to-the-business) and monetising assets such as our national long-distance network that has been deployed. There is also a significant focus on providing fibre connectivity as backhaul for mobile towers (FTTT).”

There are now over 140 internet service providers on the open-access Frogfoot network, including Afrihost, MWeb and Vox, he adds.

Early this month, Frogfoot expanded its senior executive team, hiring a team of five executives in newly-created roles.

The executive team, said the company at the time, would focus on supporting the firm to expand fibre rollouts beyond major urban centres and high-income neighbourhoods, into local communities.

With the more affluent areas now virtually blanketed by fibre, fibre network operators are seeing a business case in townships, as well as rural areas which have largely been shunned previously.

“Frogfoot has taken the risk of investing in fibre deployments to SA's secondary cities and towns, which many at the time did not think was viable,” notes Chorley.

“This strategy has shown that the next logical step is to bring fibre into communities that are still starved of data. Bringing cost-effective connectivity to communities can also unlock opportunities for people, helping to ultimately grow the country's economy as well.”

According to Chorley, Frogfoot has seen significant growth in SA and looks to continue to invest in economically-viable network infrastructure expansion.

“The key factors that have contributed to our growth are: firstly, connectivity is now part of the social fabric and has become like a utility. Secondly, the cost of mobile data has for long been prohibitive and the rollout of high-speed fibre networks has given people a cost-effective alternative.”

As the company continues to grow, Frogfoot is actively analysing expansion to European markets, but there is still a lot of background work to be conducted first, Chorley concludes.