CENTURION, Gauteng – 10 June 2021 – DFA today announced the launch of a feasibility study in collaboration with the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) that will look at the challenges of rolling out fibre in the rural areas of South Africa. The partnership was formalized at a virtual signing ceremony attended by South African and US government representatives. In terms of the agreement, the USTDA will fund a year-long study that will support DFA’s efforts to increase access to connectivity for the large number of South Africans outside of the country’s major metros. The initiative is part of the US agency’s wider aim of contributing towards digital inclusivity on the African continent.
Rural digital connectivity provision has continued to present challenges to African countries in particular. The year-long project will assess the technical and commercial sustainability of expanding DFA’s network into residential areas in South Africa where population density and household incomes are low.
DFA said that the study would enhance existing efforts by infrastructure providers, governments, and industry regulators to provide access to connectivity, and that a collaborative approach was crucial to addressing challenges in the provision of digital infrastructure. ‘The study will contribute significantly to shaping our approach in extending the reach and access to digital infrastructure to the less connected,’ said Vino Govender, DFA’s Chief Strategy, Mergers and Acquisitions, and Innovation Officer. The USTDA highlighted the US’s long history of supporting South Africa’s infrastructure efforts in the information, communications, and technology sectors in particular. ‘Our partnership with DFA will expand USTDA’s legacy of bridging South Africa’s digital divide through the application of US solutions,’ said Enoh T. Ebong, the agency’s Acting Director. Today’s signing paves the way for the appointment of the US company that will carry out the study.
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.