Why ISPs will have to stop installing fibre in South Africa’s biggest cities in the next 3 years

Over-saturation will mean that fibre installations across South Africa’s biggest cities is likely to dramatically slow down within the next three years.

This is according to BitCo CEO – Jarryd Chatz, who noted that by the year 2020 fibre will be become saturated in the metropole areas.

Fibre is going to be the lead internet source in main cities such as Cape Town and Johannesburg, said Chatz.

“So much so, that fibre is being installed at such a rapid rate that key SA cities will be saturated by 2020. There will be little room to install fibre in these cities, as a result service providers will be compelled to look to untapped territories.”

According to Chatz, this will force ISPs and telecoms companies into a battle to provide fibre in rural areas and small towns, largely because of poor infrastructure and distances that need to be covered to reach users.

He also noted that ISPs will increasingly have to look into value added services within the ICT space to grow.

“This will increase their customer base as services will be more streamlined,” he said. “For ISPs such as BitCo, we will see partnerships and mergers with companies that offer cloud base services.”

The Wild-West 

According to a recent report by MyBroadband, South Africa’s fibre-to-the-home market has become a gold rush, with companies racing to be first to stake their claims on the most lucrative neighbourhoods and estates in the country.

However, upon staking their claim, it’s become increasingly clear that some of these companies may have no intention of rolling out fibre in the near future. They have staked their claim, but only plan to return to the area months later to start their work.

According to the report, DSL subscribers have reported receiving messages from their ISP that fibre is available in their area, only to discover upon applying that they are not covered.

There are also cases of outsourced door-to-door sales people stating that fibre is available, but the infrastructure provider’s map shows nothing of the sort.

“It is a difficult operating environment, which is why, whenever possible, we try lay our own infrastructure so that we have end-to-end control of the service,” said CyberSmart CTO, Laurie Fialkov.

Read: Vodacom app now allows you to report service delivery issues in Cape Town

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Why ISPs will have to stop installing fibre in South Africa’s biggest cities in the next 3 years