S.A.: ATEC brings fibre to suburbs, video services to follow

Technology & Convergence

ATEC Systems and Technologies (www.atec.co.za) has just completed phase one of a large roll-out to create South Africa's first non-gated FTTH community. This deployment, in the affluent suburb of Clifton, in Cape Town, was done by deploying a fibre-optic network for the distribution of the DStv signal from a centralised satellite dish, and was completed early in January 2012. Residents are already enjoying the full set of DStv services.

“Clifton has a unique problem in that the satellite signal for DStv is blocked by the mountain and Leeukop. In effect, most parts of Clifton have not been able to get full DStv services since the inception of the service from MultiChoice,” says Gerhard Loots, Commercial Director of ATEC.

Many of the ATEC customers commented that one of their biggest frustrations of moving into this area has been the lack of a satellite-based DStv service, and mentioned that many companies tried to resolve this issue over a number of years, and ATEC was the only company to actually resolve it.

ATEC addressed this 17-year-old problem by deploying a Proof of Concept FibreSuburb network in Nettleton Road. This entailed the installation of an FTTH network to bring the DStv service as part of the initial deployment.

Phase two of the FibreSuburb deployment entails the installation of an FTTH network for a second section of Clifton, in Victoria Road, and adding broadband services to the current DStv service. Planning, which includes signing up of a number of customers, is currently at an advanced stage,” Loots concludes.

As part of phase two of ATEC FibreSuburb, customers will have the option to add international standard broadband speeds of 10-, 20- and 50mbps, VOIP-based voice, cloud computing and security products to their DStv services, providing a fully-fledged triple/multi-play solution according to their Web site: www.fibresuburb.co.za. In future, the TV services will be expanded to provide IPTV, Over-the-Top TV, as well as video on-demand services.

Juanita Clark, CEO of the FTTH Council Africa (an independent organisation that works to educate governments and communities on fibre), made the following comment: “Fibre to the home is coming, and it is coming at a rapid pace! Communities that have not considered the benefits of fibre will lose residents that will move to areas that can supply their families with up-to-date technology trends. The world as we know it is changing fast, and communities have to ensure they have strategies in place to keep up with the pace. We already know that fibre is a superior technology; not only that, it is also a greener technology. Projects such as these now also prove that it is a viable alternative to outdated technologies. ATEC is a frontrunner in the area of delivering fibre to the home solutions, and the FTTH Council Africa is proud to be associated with the directors and staff of ATEC.”

ATEC confirmed the monthly costs associated with these packages will be similarly structured to existing fixed-line pricing structures, with a line rental fee and options between Capped and Uncapped Internet packages. One exception, says Loots, is that no customer will be expected to pay for telephone line rental (as is required with ADSL lines) if he/she does only wants broadband Internet, a concept that the My Broadband community has been crying for. In addition to the TV distribution and broadband services, ATEC will also be offering security and cloud-based computing services according to the product Web site: www.fibresuburb.co.za.

ATEC is also planning to upgrade the networks of its current copper-based FibreSuburb customers in Llandudno, Camps Bay and Hout Bay, to be able to upgrade their existing services to full multi-play services. As the business case for deployment of a FibreSuburb network depends on community member's willingness to contribute financially to the cost of installing the network, on its Web site, ATEC invites communities to contact them to determine the cost and feasibility of a deployment in their suburb. For more information, please visit www.fibresuburb.co.za.