Apr 06, 2012
Services demand to drive fibre optics roll-outBack
Cairo|Lagos|Education|Telkom|Trenchless Technologies|Africa|Egypt|Nigeria|South Africa|Fibre-optic Networks|Network Operator|Pipes|Public Services|Speed Telecommunications Infrastructure|Telecommunications Infrastructure|Utility Infrastructure|Sam Efrat|Broadband|Fibre Optic|High-speed Internet
© Reuse this
“There is continued impetus to connect commercial centres to each other and to connect important branches and resources of companies to their own networks using fibre optics. Further, companies and governments are starting to realise that it is important to share critical resources, such as high-speed telecommuni- cations infrastructure, for future growth,” he says.
Africa, though, will continue to see the growth and expansion of both wireless and mobile technologies to supply last-mile connectivity to most people. However, in developed and urban areas, where people and companies are concentrated, demand for high-speed broadband connectivity will increase the demand for fixed line, or fibre-optic, services, he says.
He cites the examples of Cairo, in Egypt, and Lagos, in Nigeria, where trenchless pipeline construction techniques have been used to install telecommunications infrastructure and utility infrastructure, such as water and sewer pipes, in dense urban areas where trenches would cause too much disruption.
Further, the number of users, as well as economies of scale, in dense urban areas is needed to jump-start demand and, thus, improve the commercial reasons for installing high-speed telecommunications infrastructure.
The roll-out of long-haul fibre-optic links between cities and commercial centres is continuing steadily, says Efrat, adding that it is impossible to network the last-mile using fibre optics because the capital outlay is too large at present. This is where the use of existing copper cables, operated by JSE-listed network operator Telkom, will become important.
“Many companies have developed their own fibre-optic networks [in anticipation of] the unbundling of the local loop, or last mile, which will enable them to provide services directly to individuals and companies.
“However, the longer Telkom waits to unbundle the local loop, the less impact it will have because data speeds will increase to where copper cables will no longer be useful. This will create the impetus for companies to install fibre connections to the home and for the use of new technologies and services. Also, the lack of local loop accessibility is reducing South Africa’s potential growth and general competitiveness.”
Further, the use of networks in urban environs will depend on their reliability and effectiveness, increasing the commercial reasons to swiftly unbundle the local loop, because good networks must be laid out to provide the services and speeds demanded, notes Efrat.
Meanwhile, the future potential for trenchless construction techniques will come from last-mile connectivity where, after fibre-optic ring networks around cities have been built, fibre-optic connections to homes will provide high-speed Internet connectivity and telephone services with the least excavation.
“Directional drilling is one method of connecting the network to the home with the least excavation, because one only has to excavate the launching area, and then expose the cable at certain points along the way, such as at manholes from where cables can be laid to a number of homes, and so that operators can maintain the cables, from these manhole access points.”
Trenchless Technologies generates between 20% and 30% of its turnover from directional drilling, but foresees this increasing to 50%, owing to demand for fibre-optic installations.
“We project that the fibre-optic market will double in size every three years and will be an integral part of future communications. Further, the end point use of fibre-optic networks will be in the form of wireless and handheld devices, which means that the potential uptake of these networks, and copper-cable networks when the local loop is unbundled, will be far broader. Wireless end-point connectivity can also be applied in education, at schools and business, as well as for critical response services, such as emergency medical services and the police.
“Effective and efficient networks can also be used to set up public service kiosks in different areas where people can interact with the government, pay for services and access disparate government department functions from a single location,” he explains.
Meanwhile, as the Internet becomes more refined, a myriad of commercial and governmental services that have not been developed yet will emerge and take precedent, he notes.
“It is important to realise that the more shared resources and resultant sharing we have, the more services we will effectively be able to offer. Service provision the world over is one of the biggest employers, but most large companies require high-quality internal and external communication, making the network a valuable asset that impacts on companies beyond their profitability.”
A strong fibre backbone will provide significant potential for social upliftment. The ability to provide Internet accessibility to a large part of the population will impact on a country’s ability to educate, connect, service and grow in ways not yet even conceived of, he enthuses.
“Further, fibre-optic cables are futureproof, providing sufficient data capacity for the foreseeable future,” he concludes.
Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu© Reuse this Comment Guidelines
Other ICT News
Recent Research Reports
Automotive 2014: A review of South Africa's automotive sector (PDF Report)
The report provides insight into the business environment, the key participants in the sector, local construction demand, geographic diversification, competition within the sector, corporate activity, skills, safety, environmental considerations and the challenges...
Construction 2014: A review of South Africa's construction sector (PDF Report)
Construction data released during 2013 hints at a halt to the decline in the industry during the last few years, with some commentators averring that the industry could be poised for recovery. However, others have urged caution, noting that the prospects for a...
Electricity 2014: A Review of South Africa's Electricity Sector (PDF Report)
This report provides an overview of the state of electricity generation and transmission in South Africa and examines electricity planning, investment in generation capacity, electricity tariffs, the role of independent power producers and demand-focused initiatives,...
Defence 2013: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2013 Defence Report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key players in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the defence sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial...
Road and Rail 2013: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2013 Report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move...
Liquid Fuels 2013 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2013 Liquid Fuels report examines South Africa’s liquid fuels market, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing,...
This Week's Magazine
A structured approach, wherein managers personally engage at each level of the project, is necessary to mitigate delays to the workflow on mega construction projects, says State-owned Eskom Kusile power station projects GM Abram Masango. The 4 800 MW Kusile power...
Construction of transmission lines to evacuate power from a regional hydroelectric project in East Africa, which was hanging on the balance following the withdrawal of financing by key partners, is now back on track. After six months of uncertainty, the African...
Three Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were signed between South African and Malaysian companies at the Malaysian High Commission in Pretoria on Friday. These MoUs are part of the indirect offsets programme South Africa is providing in return for Malaysia’s...
The South African new vehicle market may well dip to 640 000 units in 2014, says Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) sales and marketing senior VP Calvyn Hamman. This is the first prediction that anticipates a drop in the market. To date economists and industry bodies...
Nissan will re-enter the South African minibus taxi industry in March, when the new NV350 Impendulo goes on sale. The 16-seater has been specifically tailored to meet the terms of government’s Taxi Recapitalisation Programme, which aims to replace South Africa’s...