The rural towns of Ventersdorp and Lichtenburg in the North West Province, seems to be the first countryside area in South Africa to be connected to broadband.

True Communications has laid 110 km of fibre optic cable within Ventersdorp and Lichtenburg, providing town-wide optical connection coverage for every home in the two areas.

The Ventersdorp-based Internet Service Provider (ISP) installation is a passive optical fibre network using point-to-multipoint fibre optic deployment.

Eldred Ekermans, MD of True Communications, on Tuesday told Techfinancials that the ISP has connected 300 customers to the new network, with a projected total of 1 200 connections being completed within the next 12 months and 2 500 to 3 000 planned within the next three years.

“The company will simultaneously expand the service to other regions in which it currently has a high-density customer footprint,” he said.

Eldred Ekermans, MD of True Communications
Eldred Ekermans, MD of True Communications (Photo Credit: True Communications)

True Communications NOCs (Network Operation Centres) are strategically placed in Ventersdorp, Lichtenburg, Mafikeng, Zeerust, Warrenton and Vryburg to provide seamless Internet connectivity to its customers throughout the North West, Free State, and portions of the Northern Cape provinces.

The ISPs NOCs are connected to Teraco, Africa’s largest colocation data centre provider, where they peer with NAPAfrica and plug into the Internet Backbone.

The ISP said its Wide Area Network covers about 45 000 square kilometres, including towns like Ventersdorp, Boskop, Boons, Derby, Koster, Swartruggens, Coligny, Biesiesvlei, Lichtenburg, Mafikeng, Ottoshoop, Lehurutse, Zeerust, Sannieshof, Ottosdal, Wolmaransstad, Delareyville, Migdol, Vryburg, Stella, Ganyesa, Piet Plessis, Tosca, Pomfret, Hartswater, Jan Kempdorp and surrounding areas.

Facing ongoing challenges within the licence-free 5 GHz wireless spectrum, decided to pursue the passive fibre optic network route in late 2016.

The Ventersdorp-based ISP said that the BDCOM EPON technology from MiRO proved to be the perfect cost-effective solution in overcoming issues arising with the ISP’s existing customer offering.

EPON is an  emerging broadband access technologies, through a single fiber-optic  access systems, to access the data, voice and video service, and it has a  good economy.

Ekermans said that the addition of the BDCOM passive optical fibre range to MiRO’s portfolio in late 2016 was extremely opportune. As an existing customer of MiRO’s wireless products, True Communications had no hesitation in designing and building a large-scale passive optical fibre network with more than 300 active users using MiRO’s BDCOM equipment.

Since MiRO was founded in South Africa in 2003, the company has grown to be amongst South Africa’s leading distributors of Wireless, Networking, VoIP, and IP Video products.

Ekermans says True Communications is happy with the BDCOM products.

“Not only do they perform according to our specifications in terms of stability and throughput, but they are in a different league with respect to cost effectiveness and availability,” he said.

“In addition to being able to offer an uninterrupted connection to home users, we can pass the savings in deployment on to them with minimal investment required for the routers.”

True Communications said it will continue to utilize its wireless network solutions, the incorporation of a fibre optic network was deemed complementary and advantageous in the more congested areas.

“Access spectrum for customer connections based on ISM licence-free spectrum is predominantly in the 5 GHz band. However, because of the licence exemption in this band, over-utilization is common. The result is that service provision takes place on an unprotected and uncontrolled spectrum, which leads to vulnerability.”

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