Vuma, Huawei trial 50G PON tech for SA

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 12 Jul 2023
From left: Kim Jin, VP of Huawei Optical Business Product Line; Francois Swart, CTO of Vuma; and Gene Zhang, MD of Huawei SA Enterprise Division.
From left: Kim Jin, VP of Huawei Optical Business Product Line; Francois Swart, CTO of Vuma; and Gene Zhang, MD of Huawei SA Enterprise Division.

Local fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) provider Vuma has collaborated with Huawei to integrate its fibre solutions with Huawei’s next-generation broadband technology, 50G PON.

This joint deal was announced at the Huawei Eco Connect Sub-Saharan Africa event that recently took place in Johannesburg.

According to a statement, the partnership sees the launch of what is billed as “first to market broadband capabilities”, which are significantly higher than the existing 2.5Gbps capabilities currently in use.

50G PON is the next-generation passive optical network (PON) broadband access technology selected by the ITU-T standardisation.

It provides ultra-high bandwidth and low latency for applications such as smart homes, online education, gaming, virtual reality and live streaming.

According to Vuma, following the testing phase, the deployment of this technology will make considerably higher upload and download fibre broadband speeds accessible to its customers across the provider’s FTTH network.

This will allow the provider to meet growing consumer demand for faster, higher capacity and more stable connectivity, it says.

“Vuma’s investment in the testing and rollout of the new Huawei PON technology is future-proofing our network, which will allow us to enable much more capacity over the last mile fibre and increase speeds as our customers require – approximately 20 times faster than the current capabilities deployed,” says Francois Swart, CTO of Vuma.

At the launch event, Richard Jin, president of Huawei Optical Business Product Line, detailed Huawei’s vision to make high-speed connectivity more accessible to everyone in SA.

"Fibre broadband will significantly promote innovation and employment for the country,” noted Jin. “However, the penetration rate of fixed broadband in most African countries is much lower than the global average. This is both a challenge and an opportunity.”

Also speaking at the event, deputy communications minister Philly Mapulane added: “We cannot allow the digital era to introduce another segregation of a section of our freedom. We are committed to bridging the digital divide and making sure we have a digitally-inclusive society.

“Telecommunications companies, such as Vuma, have a critical role to play in expanding the reach of connectivity in the country.”

Although 50G PON is currently in its infancy, the industry support behind it is already formidable, according to Huawei. Operators in China consider 50G PON to be their future broadband platform, while several global operators, such as Orange and Swisscom, have voiced their support for 50G PON.