CENTURION, Gauteng – 3 September 2008 – Dark Fibre Africa (DFA) plans to invest R2 billion in expanding its fibre optic networks. The shared infrastructure company says it will spend the money over the next three years. DFA welcomed Friday’s High Court ruling in favour of Altech Autopage Cellular to allow VANS and other Internet-based companies to build their own networks. “This is good news for South African businesses and consumers”, says DFA director Richard Came. The ruling gives the company access to more customers, he notes. “Before the ruling, we had the three mobile carriers and the two national operators, but now we have access to hundreds of potential customers.”
The R2 billion, from DFA’s owner Community Investment Ventures and its funding partners, Venfin and Absa Capital, will go towards expanding its network across the country. DFA says its technology allows operators to share infrastructure without affecting their competitive advantage. “The model makes economic sense because it does away with the need to duplicate expensive infrastructure, minimises traffic disruption and opens up the market to even the smallest operators”, says Came. He adds that most of the costs in laying fibre are incurred in the civil engineering phase. “By putting in a system where we lay down paired fibre optic cables, we are helping to cut costs associated with laying down individual cables. The operators would also own the cables we put down for them.”
DFA has already installed more than 200 km of infrastructure in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Cape Town. Came says DFA is also looking into expanding its network to smaller metropolitans, such as Port Elizabeth and Nelspruit. “The ruling was really like opening Pandora’s box”, says BMI-TechKnowledge MD Denis Smit. BMI-T says it does not expect any more announcements as big as the High Court ruling. “The ruling will be a major boost to infrastructure plans in SA”, says Smit.
DFA is the premier wholesale, open-access fibre-infrastructure and -connectivity provider in South Africa. We finance, build, install, manage, and maintain a world-class fibre network to transmit metro and long-haul telecommunications traffic. We started rolling out our fibre network in 2007, and to date, we have deployed over 13,000 km of ducting infrastructure in major metros, secondary cities, and smaller towns. Our network runs with an industry-leading uptime of 99.98%. We lease our secure transmission and backbone fibre infrastructure and provide associated connectivity services to telecommunications operators, Internet service providers, media conglomerates, tertiary education institutions, municipalities, government organizations, and other businesses, large and small, on equal terms. DFA is a Level 3 B-BBEE Contributor on the ICT Sector Codes.