SA firm plans $60m fibre network investment

A UNIT of Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed investment holding company, Remgro Investment, has committed to invest $60 million in open access metro fibre networks in the next five years, in a major boost for government’s plans for every household to be connected to fibre optic.
Of that purse, over $9 million is expected to be spent this year.

BY MELODY CHIKONO

The investment will be channelled through Dark Fibre Africa (DFA) with the resources coming from Remgro’s subsidiary, DFA South Africa.

DFA Zimbabwe chief executive officer Simon Mutsotso said the fund drawdown would be on a monthly basis.

“The funding is coming from DFA South Africa, which is subsidiary of Remgro. We will be starting in Harare and plan to start with at least 50km. The money will be coming on a monthly basis and as and when we need it,’ he said.

The proposed investment comes as government, through the Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) ministry, is targeting to have every household connected to optic fibre by
2020.

ICT, Postal and Courier Services minister Supa Mandiwanzira told NewsDay on Friday that he had received various proposals from foreign companies interested in building fibre network in the country.

He said there has been renewed interest in the building and establishment of optic fibre since the new government took office.

“There are companies that have come that are interested in building fibre network in our country. Just today, I had a meeting with a South African group that has committed to invest $60 million over the next five years and they want to build open access fibre network in the urban areas. This is good for us as it’s the most idea of sharing infrastructure,” he said.

Mandiwanzira added that this would also see an end to the duplication and triplication of infrastructure as it opens up opportunities for enterprises to introduce services without the need to invest in fibre networks.

“This year alone, the company will send nearly $10 million in establishing that urban network. The ground breaking will be in April,” he said.
While the investment will go a long way in delivering broadband to households through the fibre optic cable, Mandiwanzira said there was also interest in building national fibre backbone.

“But this is an area where we would like a company like TelOne to remain a dominant player,” he said.

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