from MTHULISI SIBANDA in Johannesburg, South Africa
JOHANNESBURG – SOUTH Africa is anticipated to accelerate installation of fibre this year as the fourth industrial revolution (4.0) sweeps through the continent’s most advanced economy.
Experts noted with the digital age upon humankind, the country ought to be ready for all that 4.0 brought.
Such trends include Internet of Things (IoT), Smart Homes and Cities, augmented reality and Big Data – all which were already part of everyday life.
“And this tendency will continue,” said Thomas Appelt, President and General Manager of Corning International, the multinational technology company.
In an interview, he said to sustain the massive data growth, network densification, more data centre deployment and better connectivity at all levels were necessary.
“Accelerated growth rates in installations of fibre to businesses are expected in 2019 and this in turn will lead to new players entering the market place to capitalise on the opportunity. Easy access will also play a large role in deployment as businesses demand value for money and a high return on investment.”
The executive noted stable networks, able to work constantly in high intensity, preventing data downtimes or drops are going to be a prerequisite for successful business operations and will drive also business interest towards building of new or improvement of existing connectivity and infrastructure.
“Overall we are expecting 2019 to be driven by increasing customer expectations and demand for growth that will stimulate completion, innovation and complex solutions to be presented.”
Appelt’s sentiments come amid massive uptake of fibre by businesses and homes.
According to statistics from the Fibre to the X (FTTX) Council, the number of homes connected to fibre in South Africa as of March 2018 was 280 000.
This is up from 89 000 homes from the year before. The number of homes passed by fibre also increased from 439 000 to 933 000 during the period.
Corning estimates the fibre to business figures are at least double than that of home-based services, with the same growth experienced across the continent.
Fibre optic cables play a big role in providing high-performance data networking and a much better way of communicating and come with several advantages that make it significant in everyday living and ensure capacity inaccessible otherwise, according to Appelt.
“Furthermore, since the adoption rates in Africa are much slower than those of global counterparts, we read that as a positive indicator as the growth displayed in the South African market demonstrates a robust appetite and inclination for the service.”
Appelt however noted the challenges to the rollout of fibre, such as the skills gap, resulting in the different players rolling out fibre networks competing for the same limited resource pool.
“This is starting to introduce quality issues in several of the deployments,” he said.
The executive said fibre would also be critical for moving the enormous amounts of data generated by 5G connected devices and objects.
He said without fibre, 5G would not be able to deliver ultra-fast, reliable, low latency connections on which new applications and services would depend.
“5G is not just market promise, to come to life it requires complex, demanding and capacity resistant technical infrastructure and that infrastructure can be provided by fibre,” Appelt said.
– CAJ News