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MTN invests R1.2 billion to fund network upgrades in Kwa-Zulu Natal

MTN is investing about R1.2 billion to upgrade its network in Kwa-Zulu Natal, which includes the deployment of fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) in the scenic suburb La Lucia.

The deployment of this high speed fibre network in La Lucia marks MTN’s first deployment of FTTH in the province of Kwa-Zulu Natal and an extension of MTN’s FTTH footprint outside of Gauteng and Western Cape.

Earlier this month, MTN announced that it has begun civil works to deploy FTTH in Fresnaye and Bakoven in the Western Cape and approximately 1 000 homes are expected to be connected to MTN’s fibre before the end of the year.

Civil works have commenced in La Lucia on 20 July 2015, and 3 kilometres of trenching has already been completed. Total trenching distance is 21 kilometres. About 439 homes will be connected to this high speed fibre network, and the first home will be connected before the end of October when the project reaches its completion date.

This high speed network which is capable of delivering speeds of up to 100 Mbps, will provide residents of La Lucia withmultiple benefits including the ability to stream high-definition videos, play online games, stream movies, do home automation and remote surveillance of their homes and businesses.

FTTH will be able to handle even the futuristic Internet uses some experts see coming. Technologies such as 3D holographic high definition television and games will someday be everyday items in households around the world. FTTH will be able to handle the estimated 30-gigabyte-per-second needs of such equipment which available technologies cannot handle.

Says Alpheus Mangale, MTN Business SA Chief Enterprise Officer: “MTN’s deployment of a fibre network in La Lucia marks an important milestone in our FTTH ambitions as it reaffirms our commitment to become a key player in this arena. Equally important, it allows us to give the residents of La Lucia a high performing network that will bring them into the digital age and offer them a distinct customer experience.”

In the last six months, MTN has significantly expanded its LTE network in Kwa-Zulu Natal in line with the rapid adoption of smart devices such as smartphones and tablets.

In the period under review, MTN approximately 700 LTE sites in the province, and rollout has been ramped up in the second half of the year to cater to the demand for this new generation network in the province.

The rollout of FTTH in La Lucia has been received concerns from some residents over damages caused on their properties during the construction phase.

MTN has posted notices at the properties that would likely be affected by the civil works which urges the residents to contact the contractor whose number is listed in the afore-mentioned notice for remedial action should they have any concerns about the quality of the workmanship and any outstanding issues that remain unresolved.

“MTN is working tirelessly to resolve all outstanding issues to the satisfaction of all concerned. The contractor has assured MTN that all action will be taken to resolve any outstanding issues as soon as possible,” says Mangale.

MTN is rolling out an open access network in La Lucia at its own cost which it will maintain during its lifespan. The key advantage of an open access network is that residents will have multiple options in terms of the service providers they can utilise. 

“This open access network provides customers with a flexible platform that will allow any independent internet service provider (ISP) with a valid electronic communications services licence, and which has signed an agreement with MTN, to integrate the services they provide to end-users. This, in turn, will enable a range of service providers to provide their customers with connectivity services via the MTN network,” Mangale adds.

MTN’s FTTH pricing is very competitive and includes some bundled packages which are not inclusive of installation fees. 

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