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RocketNet expands footprint amid fibre services boom

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Simon Swanepoel, CEO and founder of RocketNet.
Simon Swanepoel, CEO and founder of RocketNet.

South African internet service provider (ISP) RocketNet says it has seen a significant surge in demand for its communication services, with the fibre vertical growing by up to 60% over the past year.

Established in 2016 by tech entrepreneur Simon Swanepoel, RocketNet offers a range of services, including fibre‑to‑the‑home (FTTH) and WiFi solutions, with an estimated market share of around 40% in the local fibre market.

SA’s fibre market is billed by ICT pundits as one of the highest-growth industries, with FTTH or fibre-to-the-building subscriptions seeing accelerated demand as internet subscriptions soar.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, RocketNet says it has seen a boom in data traffic on its network as South Africans spent more time online as a result of remote working, e-learning and streaming of video-on-demand services.

The company says it continues to expand its national footprint, particularly in remote areas around the country, by adding partners to its ecosystem, which currently includes fibre network operators such as FrogFoot, LinkLayer, MetroFibre, MTN, Vuma and Openserve.

“Since last year, there was about a 20% increase in data traffic on our network,” says Swanepoel, CEO of RocketNet.

“We also saw a dramatic increase in customer activations and fibre sales orders purely from the fact that customers were no longer resorting to 3G, 4G, or LTE type services – as those services became extremely congested during the remote working phase during the pandemic.”

The biggest noticeable change to the data traffic increase has been during the day, he adds.

Before COVID-19, he points out that customers would connect and data traffic would peak only at around 9pm due to streaming services like Netflix.

“However, now there has been a huge amount of data increase during working hours, which makes logical sense due to the remote working and e-learning that most people are doing.”

According to Swanepoel, the company is always working on ways to help customers seamlessly resolve internet connectivity issues via self-service diagnostic tools.

Last year, the company collaborated with Canadian tech firm RouteThis to develop the RocketNet Probe app to help customers diagnose and fix problems related to their internet service.

In addition to the app, RocketNet has recently introduced Resolve, a new platform that uses artificial intelligence to help customer service agents automate the diagnosis and rectification of WiFi challenges for customers.

Resolve assists agents in identifying issues like physical infrastructure, network configuration, device issues and wireless capability through a LiveView feature displayed on a customer service agent’s computer screen.

"RocketNet's mission is to provide our customers with a great internet experience. Continually investing in technological advancements like this empowers customers to be in the driving seat of those experiences," explains Swanepoel.

In terms of future offerings, the company says it is working on a mobile-focused strategy where it will introduce RocketNet mobile services with SIM card-based devices that offer customers unlimited data and voice minutes.

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