South Africa: Now Parkview asks suppliers to quote for FTTH

Internet

Residents of another upmarket Johannesburg suburb have kick-started the process of building a fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network in their neighbourhood. Parkview has signalled plans to follow the example of nearby Parkhurst, which has taken an early lead in building FTTH.

“We have fast fibre-optic cables running through and around the suburb that could be used to provide much better broadband Internet services at reasonable cost,” the Parkview Residents’ Association (PRA) says in a newsletter that will be sent to residents later this week.

“We have a vision of a ‘connected suburb’ where, just as we expect decent roads and pavements, we could expect high-quality telecommunications infrastructure.”

Indra de Lanerolle, the Parkview resident in charge of the PRA’s fibre campaign, called iParkview, says there are a number of major fibre rings that pass through the suburb, yet the best access residents can get is copper-based ADSL broadband. Residents are unhappy with speeds, reliability and value for money, according to De Lanerolle.

Parkview has about 1,100 homes, with the PRA also looking after the eastern side of neighbouring Greenside.

“Fibre to the home may be the best answer, though we are not tied to a particular solution. Once we have established the demand, we hope that businesses will propose viable solutions to meet it,” he says.

Whatever solution is chosen, Parkview intends offering free wireless access in public areas, including the business node. “This should be very attractive to local businesses.”

The PRA has already initiated discussions with potential suppliers and intends putting out a formal request for proposals soon, according De Lanerolle. He says it’s difficult to put a timeline on Parkview’s projet.

“One of the greatest challenges to setting timelines is trying to get engagement from some of the decision makers who control the passive infrastructure like street poles,” he says.

“If the city wants to get cheaper and better broadband more widely available, it could make a big impact by addressing some of this red tape. I was in Nairobi last year and spent a morning with a team cabling suburbs with a similar income level to those in Soweto. They could do this economically because authorities gave them access to passive infrastructure at reasonable cost and with minimal red tape.”

The PRA is asking residents to complete an online survey to determine how much they’d be prepared to pay for superfast Internet access at speeds of up to 100Mbit/s. The survey suggests Parkhurst hopes to offer a wide range of services, starting with a “value contract” at 4Mbit/s.