The Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services recently presented its SA Connect progress report to parliament.
As part of the presentation, the department highlighted how much progress had been made in fibre and cellular coverage roll-out across the country.
Based on data provided by the FTTX Council, the report found that the number of houses passed by fibre has grown from 439,000 in 2017 to 933,000 by March 2018 – equivalent to 112% year on year growth.
Additionally, the number of houses connected to fibre grew from 89,000 in 2016/17 to 280,000 in 2017/18.
These numbers should continue to increase in the coming year, with projects such as Vumatel’s ‘township fibre’ beginning its official roll-out, to launch within the coming year, while recent tax changes are also expected to result in additional investment in fibre optic infrastructure.
While the department recently indicated that it is now gearing up for 5G deployment, the report also showed that mobile internet in the country was also showing steady improvements.
According to the report, the national coverage for 3G remained stable at 99% of the population between 2016 and 2017, while coverage for 4G/LTE increased from 75% to 77% of the population for the same period.
“The evolution to 5G wireless service will require the construction and operation of dense, mesh fibre networks,” the report stated.
“To achieve these aims most efficiently, 5G and all-fibre providers will need access on a reasonable and non-discriminatory basis to public and private land, to poles, ducts, and conduits, and to commercial and residential buildings. 5G densification requires 10 to 100 times more cell sites than exist today.”