9 October 2008
Second landline operator Neotel has announced the availability of “fibre to the premises” services for its business customers, having finished laying fibre-optic networks in five key metropolitan areas across South Africa, enabling businesses to connect to the new service in a matter of days.
The company completed the rollout of metropolitan fibre-optic rings roughly a year ago, and has since also completed the rollout of the metro access layer, which enables customers to link with the Neotel network, with the company using the term “fibre to the kerb” to describe the second network layer.
According to online encyclopaedia Wikipedia, “fibre to the premises” is a generic term for any network architecture that uses optical fibre to replace all or part of the usual copper local loop used for telecommunications.
“Contrary to recent media reports, fibre to the premises (FTTX) for enterprise [business] customers is available today from Neotel,” Neotel Enterprise Group executive head Stefano Mattiello said in a statement this week.
“Why wait for another two years when you can have the service in a matter of days?”
Neotel is using this network to provide customers with multiplay services, which includes voice, data and internet over one high-bandwidth network.
“The availability of fibre to the kerb in the major metros means that any businesses in these areas can get connected to our services in a matter of days,” Mattiello said. “The beauty of fibre to the kerb is that it enables us to take one cable into the building to connect all of the customer’s chosen services.”
The benefits to the customer include faster deployment, more bandwidth and a fully scalable service to meet their requirements, even when their needs change.
As a result of using a next-generation network that includes a fire-optic backhaul link, Neotel’s service was also fully redundant, with no single point of failure, thereby ensuring customers that “downtime” was a thing of the past.
“It also means that our services are not limited to big organisations,” he said. “Smaller companies are moving over to our network because it is already available in their metros and therefore quick to deploy.”
Changing industry dynamics
He says that Neotel took a strategic decision to immediately implement the metro access layer, which resembles a spiral. As the infrastructure was already available, the company could then connect customers at much faster times, which he believed was truly changing the dynamics of the industry.
“[The fibre] runs with the existing streets and is laid in the kerb to provide access across an entire area rather than just connecting major hubs,” Mattiello said.
He said that while there was the risk that clients might not sign up with the telecoms company, the company felt that they should have the infrastructure already in place and ready for when a client was prepared to sign up.
“In addition to that, our approach eliminates any perceived exclusivity attached to having high quality telecommunications services and customer service – we’ve made sure any company, large or small, within the metro can connect to our network,” he said.
“Fibre to the kerb is available from Neotel immediately, and it is simply a matter of time before we can offer the same type of service to the home.”
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