Fibre growth prompts MWEB strategy shift

2016-02-02 14:41 - Duncan Alfreds, Fin24
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Carolyn Holgate, MWEB general manager. (MWEB)

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Cape Town – Growing deployments of fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) services in South Africa has prompted internet service provider MWEB to shift its focus to high-speed broadband.

The internet service provider on Tuesday announced a greater focus on fibre broadband services amid a rush from firms to deploy FTTH.

Independent service provider Vumatel kicked off South Africa's FTTH rush when it connected upmarket Johannesburg suburb Parkhurst in 2014. Since then Vumatel has expanded to other suburbs such as Bryanston and has previously stated that it's aims to connect 100 000 homes during 2016.

Meanwhile, Telkom said in a market update on Monday that its FTTH network has now passed 56 000 homes. 

“Since the launch of the first FTTH services we have already seen increased competition in the operator market which has been followed by some price relief for the end consumer. We expect this to continue and prices will be more closely aligned to ADSL in the future, this will be critical in facilitating the broadband substitution from ADSL to FTTH,” MWEB genereal manager Carolyn Holgate told Fin24.

“The added benefit of no voice line requirement will also help to make the service more affordable. As operators progress through their roadmaps of implementation and reach scale, we expect to see reduction in wholesale rates coming our way,” Holgate said.

Open access

READ: MWEB shifts focus to fibre broadband

Meanwhile, MWEB is forecasting strong growth for FTTH technology.

“We estimate at least two million homes to be passed by 2020 with at least a 25% penetration rate… that should deliver at least 500 000 active FTTH customers by 2020,” Holgate said.

And the open access model of fibre deployment in South Africa means that internet service providers could benefit from this growth.

Telkom’s wholesale infrastructure arm Openserve and other players such as Vumatel and 123Net are deploying fibre on an open access model which allows multiple service providers to utilise the hardware.

“There is enough opportunity with most operators offering open access wholesale models. In fact, open access is common place now in the FTTH market and it the best chance an operator will have at getting the adoption that is required to make the business case work.”

MWEB also offers subscribers a FTTH service. To see where, click here.

* Fin24 is a division of Media24, a subsidiary of Naspers. MWEB is owned by MultiChoice South Africa, a subsidiary of Naspers.


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