17 November 2009
With users switching increasingly to broadband access technologies, mobile operator Vodacom has been laying fibre-optic rings in South Africa’s major centres, both to build its own transmission capacity and to offer “last-mile” fibre access to its corporate clients.
Since the launch of Vodacom Business in early 2008, Vodacom has laid over 720 kilometres of optic fibre, building 11 core fibre-optic rings in the country’s major metropolitan areas.
“South Africa’s telecommunications landscape is going to be dramatically reshaped over the next few years, as the price of bandwidth plummets and newly empowered businesses and consumers increase their appetite for hosted services and applications,” Vodacom Business chief executive Wally Beelders said in a statement last week.
‘The end of dial-up’
Beelders predicted that within two years there would be no more dial-up internet access in South Africa, with the vast majority of home users and small businesses opting for wireless broadband using 3G, ADSL, WiMax or similar broadband access technologies.
“We see potential for half a million small businesses to come online in the next 18 to 24 months,” he said, explaining that when reliable, fast, cost-effective bandwidth becomes widely available, more and more firms and individuals are likely to choose online application hosting and data storage.
Single ICT supplier
Vodacom Business has launched more than 32 individual enterprise services in the past 18 months, with a large portion of its state-of-the-art data centre in Midrand being used by business customers.
“For smaller companies and entrepreneurs, the price of bandwidth is probably one of the last barriers to moving most of their applications to an online hosted environment,” Beelders said.
“Yet, in a time of scarce skills and constrained budgets, managing as many IT and communication needs as possible through a single supplier makes sense, freeing small and large enterprises to focus on their core competencies.”
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