Green light for optic fibre in east

Fibre cables awaiting trenching. PHOTO: Supplied.

In less than two months residents in parts of the east of Pretoria could have affordable high-speed optic fibre internet connection in their homes.

Although the Tshwane metro has not yet approved a micro-trenching method for installing the optic fibre, deployment will start in May or early June using traditional trenching.

According to Jurgen Strydom of the Lynnwood fibre initiative the go-ahead for the incentive was given during a recent meeting with the metro council.

“The chosen provider of the technology met with the Tshwane metro regarding the notification of intent to commence with micro-trenching in Pretoria east,” Strydom said in a statement.

“During the meeting the different methods of deployment were discussed and the City confirmed aerial deployment was not an option and the intent to micro-trench was also denied.”

This, Strydom said, was not necessarily the preferred deployment method which had been chosen. However until they received approval for micro-trenching, conventional trenching was the route that would be followed.

Strydom said that this was not necessarily all bad news as they had agreed that the provider, Frogfoot Networks, did a “proof of concept” (POC) for micro-trenching.

According to Tshwane metro the POC process would take approximately six months before receiving feedback from the City, because they wanted to allow enough time for any possible problems in the road structure to emerge as a result of the micro-trenching.

Should no such problems occur, the provider would switch over to micro-trenching for deployment, Strydom said.

He said it was not yet known in which area the deployment would start. This depended entirely on how many people in a specific area signed up for the optic fibre option.

The Lynnwood fibre initiative had spent the past year to bring FTTH (fibre to the home) to the area and had chosen a preferred supplier to deploy the network – using a micro-trenching method.

Strydom said they were confident in their choice of both the fibre operator and the technology as the most cost-effective and time-efficient means of deploying fibre broadband to Pretoria east.

WiFi, while relatively quick to deploy, could not be compared, in terms of reliability, performance and sustainability, to fibre.

Explaining why the initiative had chosen micro-trenching over traditional trenching, Strydom said that traditional trenching was disruptive because entire sidewalks had to be dug up (often on both sides of the road).

“Disruption to roads, traffic, private gardens, driveways as well as water and electricity infrastructure is inevitable with traditional trenching, which is also time-consuming and costly.

Micro-trenching was fast, used small teams, could be closely monitored, was non-intrusive, caused minimal disruptions and was cost effective, meaning that FTTH services could therefore be provided at a lower cost.

There are only minor traffic disruptions (for an hour or so) and traffic can cross the micro-trench immediately after it is cut. Micro-trenching is arguably the best technology for the deployment of fibre and a study has ranked it ten times better than traditional trenching when scored on cost, traffic and environmental impact, he added.

Some of the benefits of optic fibre include increased security because it allowed for the use of very cost effective CCTV monitoring in the suburb and gated communities, deterring thieves and allowing for quick incident detection and response times. It also increased property value as studies had shown that suburbs with fibre saw in increase of up to 8% in property value and it was less expensive than ADSL and 3G.

At the same time, fibre was faster and more reliable and stable.

Also read:

Lynnwood Fibre Initiative responds to fibre scare

Lynnwood Fibre Initiative seeks more support

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Stephané Bothma

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