Dark Fibre Africa completes SA link
Cable firm Dark Fibre Africa (DFA) reports that it has completed an open access dark fibre infrastructure in South Africa, linking the undersea cables landing at Mtunzini and the metropolitan hubs of Durban and Gauteng.
Dark fibre, or unlit, unused optical fibre, is fibre optic cable available for rent by operators.
The completion of this project will transform the economics of bringing high capacity bandwidth to SA’ s major economic hubs, said DFA CEO Gustav Smit.
He said the sharing of the most expensive elements of a telecommunications network, such as trenches, ducts and manholes amongst multiple customers, enables DFA to deliver lightning fast fibre connections at a fraction of the price that these operators could build their own networks.
“ We already have two customers, Seacom and Vodacom, who have signed up on this route and are at an advanced stage of negotiations with several others. The Durban to Mtunzini link has been operational for over a year now and has five customers, including Telkom, TENET, Broadband Infraco, MTN and Vodacom.”
He said a bottleneck still existed in the availability of high speed terrestrial capacity between undersea landing stations and major metropolitan areas of South Africa.
Smit said Dark Fibre Africa (DFA) had removed the last fundamental barrier preventing its customers, SA’ s major telecommunications operators and Internet Service Providers, from delivering affordable high speed bandwidth to their customers.
Dr Duncan Martin of Tenet, which operates the South African National Research Network (SANReN) - one of DFA’ s first customers on the Mtunzini link - provides some indication of the speed and cost benefits that South Africa will derive from this connection: “ Inbound international traffic into the SANReN network has increased from 214 megabytes/second to 2.25 gigabytes/second since DFA installed our link in record time.”
“ The international satellite tracking station at Hartebeeshoek is now able to upload data that previously had to be sent via courier to Amsterdam, in real time at a speed of 1 gigabyte/second. New open access telecommunications connections from the likes of DFA and Seacom have resulted in SANReN’ s prices tumbling from a cost of R53000 to R1100 per megabyte per month today.”
“ Apart from connecting South Africa to the global internet, the route will also provide connectivity to smaller towns en route.The route will also provide improved connectivity for mobile operators whose infrastructure is increasingly burdened by exponential growth in data traffic. “
DFA has also commenced construction of a 160 km route to link Cape Town to Yzerfontein where the WACS cable landed in April. This route will be complete by the time the WACS cable is ready for commissioning early next year. The completion of the Yzerfontein link will mean that the four biggest metros in SA will all have high speed international connectivity and high speed, open access fibre optic distribution networks. DFA has already built in excess of 2600km of fibre optic infrastructure in these metros.