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Dark Fibre Africa invests R72m in Eastern Cape


Johannesburg, 30 May 2012
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Dark Fibre Africa (DFA) is currently deploying a fibre infrastructure to the value of R72 million in the Eastern Cape region. More than 100km of fibre is being laid in the region that includes Mthata and East London.

DFA has evolved into the largest open access fibre infrastructure provider in southern Africa with an expenditure plan in excess of R3.5 billion countrywide. This project will not only launch the region into the digital age, but it will also bring significant investment into the area.

The socio-economic benefits of fibre-optic networks are vast; affordable broadband contributes to increased economic activity. Expansion of communications infrastructure brings about new business opportunities that are dependent on broadband, like ISPs, Internet cafes and banking services.

Open Access broadband also stimulates competition within the telecommunications market, ultimately reducing Internet costs. Furthermore, the competitive advantage and productivity gains of broadband are enormous. Municipalities are able to provide electronic services, education levels improve with access to information, and communities have access to e-health and e-learning.

Dark Fibre Africa CEO Gustav Smit says they merely provide the open access fibre infrastructure. “This enables licensed mobile operators and ISPs like Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, Internet Solutions and MWeb to give communities access to the network.”

Smit has called on ISPs to play a leading role in mobilising communities. “End users simply don't know what 20Mbps or 100Mbps to the home means. An opportunity needs to be created for users to test drive serious broadband.

“DFA is here to provide a long-term, sustainable solution to the local community,” he concludes.

The Mthata project is planned to start in June 2012 and the project in East London will be completed by the end of July 2012.

Dark Fibre Africa (DFA)

Dark Fibre Africa (DFA), a local open access dark fibre infrastructure provider, specialises in the financing, building and installation of carrier-neutral, open access, ducting infrastructure. The company started rolling out its network in metropolitan areas in October 2007 and has already laid in excess of 5 000km of infrastructure that is open to all licensed players, on equal terms.

This infrastructure is commissioned by licensed telecoms and Internet operators, which provide high-speed voice, data and video services to customers. The underlying business principle is that of an independent 'open access' infrastructure. With DFA acting purely as landlord, the infrastructure is entirely operator-neutral and does not differentiate between users.

The basis of the model is that DFA is building and managing a first-class physical infrastructure for any licensed operator to take advantage of. Licensed operators now have a ready-made infrastructure on which to build their differentiating converged services, bringing these services to market quicker, thereby enjoying earlier revenue generation.

There is a state-of-the-art network monitoring centre in Rivonia (Johannesburg) that provides operators with outsourced fibre network management services and offers continuous communication with clients should the unthinkable incident occur. Any service provider, licensed to do so by ICASA, may rent fibres from DFA for their own transmission and backbone infrastructure purposes.

DFA assumes the role of physical infrastructure developer, funds the rollout and, on completion, provides all operators with a first-class, secure ducting infrastructure on which licensed operators can build their services. The deployment of metro and long-haul open access ducting, optimised for fibre network deployment, will enable larger users of communications capacity to enjoy logical separation and ownership of communications capacity, while sharing the same physical right of way and access routes with other carriers.

DFA is extremely proud of claiming the prestigious 'New Entrant of the Year' award at the annual AfricaCom awards ceremony, in 2009. In 2010, DFA was awarded the 'Best Cost Efficiency Solution for Africa' for the 'Fibre to the Tower'. The AfricaCom awards recognise excellence and outstanding performance in the African telecommunications industry over a 12-month period.

Editorial contacts
IT Public Relations Ivor van Rensburg (082) 652 8050 ivor@itpr.co.za
Dark Fibre Africa Laurelle Schultze (082) 552 4623 laurelle.schultze@dfafrica.co.za
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