Open access a disruptor that drives value for customers


It may not be common knowledge, but open access is disruptor and one that will ultimately lead to better business and value for end users. This is according to Sven Blom, Head of Sales at Teraco, Africa’s only vendor neutral data centre. He says that open access and a shared infrastructure approach is one of the most progressive ways for Africa to grow.

“We have reached the perfect point of maturity where the market is ready to embrace open access. Teraco has grown its client base to 250, so there is now a proliferation of service providers. All these clients can utilise the ecosystems within Teraco, everyone is connected and it’s all through an open access model.  This is very important for transformation for the economy and for the continent,” says Blom.

As defined by Infodev, open access is about creating competition in all layers of the IP network allowing a wide variety of physical networks and applications to interact in an open architecture. Put plainly, anyone can connect to anyone in a technology-neutral framework that encourages innovative, low-cost delivery to users. It encourages market entry from smaller, local companies and seeks to ensure that no one entity can take a position of dominant market power. It requires transparency to ensure fair-trading within and between the layers based on clear, comparative information on market prices and services. It seeks to build on the characteristics of the IP network to allow devolved local solutions rather than centralised ones.

Martin Springer, managing director of CMC Networks, a global telecommunications carrier, says there is a definitive move away from traditional VSAT technology to terrestrial solutions and open access has a direct and positive impact on this evolution: “There is simply more choice and open access improves and enhances our service offerings. It also gives us redundancy and resilience in our network services.”

Springer says that it is just not viable for one company to do it all on their own: “The cost is just too big to bare, so with open access you gain value with increased affordability, more flexibility, much greater agility, and most importantly choice. It can be commercial, technical or geographical, open access helps businesses build out a network and offer value added services to end customers.”

Industry sources quote that passive infrastructure sharing can potentially generate overall cost savings as much as between 15% and 30%, with clear cost savings on yearly site capital expenditure of up to 60%.

Brendan Pronk, chief commercial officer at Comsol Wireless Solutions, a specialist in building customised terrestrial wireless access infrastructure, says that open access network models have been gaining favour in recent years: “This is largely due to their ability to improve penetration and access, stimulate competition and reduce the cost of connectivity.”

He says that for Comsol, the development of a national layer 2 last mile network has been made possible through open access and being able to terminate and cross connect to all the carriers and their communities: “This is done via an open access environment at the Comsol carrier exchange (CCX), as well as levering off of an already well established national fibre infrastructure.” Pronk says that the cost of building multiple dedicated infrastructures would be prohibitive and ultimately affect the end user.

Teraco’s Blom says that through an open access model companies can also deploy technologies quicker: “Sharing can give companies greater leverage and a more efficient and rapid deployment of newer technologies. The cost savings to be made from infrastructure sharing also enables companies to reallocate their competencies and capital on the development of their core business. This is especially the key to success in a competitive and cost conscious market.”

Cape Town will be home to the third Open Access ICT networking event hosted by Teraco and independent fibre network operator, FibreCo. Taking place at the Two Oceans Aquarium on Wednesday 18th November, the “by invitation only” event will pull together the industry’s C-level executives from across Africa to discuss open access and the future of sub-Saharan Africa in the global ICT landscape.  Sponsors include: Comsol, CMC Networks, LINX, NAP Africa, Workonline Communications.

For more information on the Open Access event brought to you by Teraco and FibreCo visit  or contact Carla Sanderson on (011) 5732800.
Source: Press Release 18 November 2015