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On track for faster internet

The road to a speedier internet for East London residents and businesses is still being travelled, as can be seen by the long swathes of orange and yellow netting snaking alongside sidewalk construction sites.

GOOD GROUNDWORK: Workers lay fibre optic infrastructure in trenches down Beacon Bay’s Quenera Drive Picture: ALAN EASON

One of the suburban ventures is the Fibre to the House (FTTH) project, which will deliver speedy internet to homes.

Operations manager Shane Dennis of SP Excel, which has been sub-contracted by Nokia to fulfil a contract with Openserve, a division of Telkom, said the work, which began in Bunkers Hill in 2015, would continue until 2020.

He said the project entailed using existing Telkom copper cabling and upgrading it to fibre.

“We are almost finished in Beach Road, Nahoon and Woodleigh and will soon roll out to Nahoon Valley, Blue Bend and Beacon Bay.”

Dennis said the company was also in the process of laying fibre optic infrastructure along Quenera Drive to Life Beacon Bay Hospital, having been contracted by telecom company Dark Fibre Africa (DFA).

“We should be finished by the end of January and when we have built the line, anyone who lives down that route can apply to tap into it.

“If there is an existing line already it will be cheaper than building it.”

He said SP Excel had also installed fibre optic cabling along Beacon Bay’s Edge Road to the industrial park. Multimillion-rand fibre-laying projects began in Buffalo City in 2012 and trenches have appeared around the city ever since.

Border-Kei Chamber of Business executive director Les Holbrook said fibre optic technology was a positive development for businesses.

“It is a good thing because business is looking for reduced costs and greater efficiency.

“People want cheaper data and faster speed, and fibre is the only way to get that.”

Holbrook said the Border-Kei Chamber of Business offices, which are situated at The Hub in Beacon Bay, still relied on Telkom ADSL lines and slow data speed.

“ADSL was great when it was first introduced, but technology has advanced and fibre optic is the way to go.”

He said a new building being developed at The Hub had specified fibre optic connectivity.

“So it will come to The Hub by the end of June.”

Holbrook said the benefits of fibre optic extended to land lines, which would be more efficient and cheaper, but explained that fibre optic installations would only be laid in upper and middle-class areas where companies could sell their technology.

According to a civil engineering magazine article in 2013, FibreCo Telecommunications had installed about 1000km of fibre optic infrastructure from Johannesburg to Bloemfontein along the N1 and from Bloemfontein to East London along the N6.

BCM spokesman Sibusiso Cindi said the fibre optic projects were part of the municipality’s vision to make the city more connected and meet the needs of a growing city.

He said schools, tertiary institutions and businesses would benefit from the development and that the infrastructure was being rolled out across the metro in phases. — barbarah@dispatch.co.za