Copper’s out, fibre’s in for Durbanville

Vumatels network hub in Kenridge.

The roll-out of fibre optic is progressing rapidly in Durbanville, as more residents ditch the old copper line for internet at the speed of light.

With the advances in technology and the growing need for faster and a more reliable internet connection, fibre-optic broadband is growing in coverage and popularity, making internet connections faster than ever.

The fibre allows data to be transferred at lightning speed when compared to the copper wires in regular broadband connections. Fibre allows for faster downloads, uninterrupted streaming and gaming.

Kenridge was one of the first areas in Durbanville to go “live” following the installation of the fibre-optic infrastructure by Vumatel, with areas such as Durbanville Hills, Eversdal and Sonstraal Heights following suit.

Vumatel’s Giorgio Iovino said Kenridge residents were the first to show interest, and, following various meetings with residents and the City, the company got the go-head to start digging the trenches in January.

Vumatel builds an open-access fibre network and simply installs the infrastructure. Mr Iovino said once they got the “buy-in” from a community, they started by digging the trenches and installing the black boxes at every home.

From there, residents can decide whether they want to sign-up or not and select an internet service provider (ISP) of their choice.

Mr Iovino said areas across the city were now showing interest in the roll-out of fibre. He said the “need” for better internet connections increased as technology progressed.

Kenridge resident Stephen Austin said residents had started talking among themselves about the possibility of having fibre installed. Mr Austin, who has a background in IT, followed up on that and was most impressed with Vumatel because of their open-access network. He had had Telkom ADSL, which had been a good line at first but it had not kept up with his family’s internet needs.

“It was simply a matter of perfect timing. Vumatel was looking for a new area to roll out, and we wanted the infrastructure,” he said.

Mr Austin said it had been a “painful” process – the trenching had hit water and power pipes – but worth it in the end.

Vumatel has its “network hub” at Kenridge Primary School which it leases from the school, with several street cabinets throughout the area which feeds to the hub.

The school also has a free line, which is part of Vumatel’s pledge to connect all primary and high schools in the neighbourhoods it lays fibre in.

The school’s IT systems manager Devon Chandler said the school wanted to progress in terms of e-learning and the installation of the fibre made that possible.

The pupils use tablets during their lessons and every teacher has a computer in their classroom.

“We’ve been connected for about five months and have not had any dropped lines,” Mr Chandler said.

At a recent Sub-council 7 meeting, chairman Gerhard Fourie said Durbanville had been on the receiving end of an unfortunate situation where several fibre-optic providers had wanted to operate in the same neighbourhoods at the same time with the result that trenches were being dug all over the area.

“Vumatel and Octotel are two of about 14 very active telecommunication service providers currently working in our city providing fibre communication infrastructure to residents and businesses.

“The Electronic Communications Act (ECA) makes it clear that service providers, like Vumatel and Octotel or any other provider registered with the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), have the right to install telecommunication services in a public road reserve and even on private land,” he said.

Vumatel plans to have rolled out fibre to 25 000 homes in Durbanville by the end of November.