Current status: April 2016: Phase 1 and 2 have been signed off on the MTN network and are live. To sign up and check your status, you can visit the MTN website. MTN has committed to an open access network and is currently in discussions with other ISPs. If you do not wish to be locked into a 24 month contract with MTN, then opt to pay up front for the installation and end-hub (R3,000) and then choose a month-to-month plan. Telkom has also installed aerial fibre in most of the suburb which you can also opt for. The prices are lower but the long term reliability of the network may be in question as the fibre it more vulnerable to the elements.
An open public meeting was held in February 2015 to identify objectives for the coming financial year. One key topic that was of interest was the installation of fibre optic cabling within Parkmore.
A fibre committee was formed and the various service providers were contacted. Two weeks before a further public meeting took place, MTN came into the suburb and began trenching. MTN decided to take a risk-based long term investment view rather than rely on a set number of pre-sign ups. The PCA and the fibre committee has since met weekly with MTN and its contractor Huawei and subcontractor Strakz to try to establish a good working relationship and escalate issues relating to trenching damages and reinstatement.
The fastest line speed currently available to Parkmore residents is 40 mbps, over Telkom’s VDSL line, while the current SA average is a paltry 3.2mbps. The new MTN network will offer speeds of up to 100mbps.
What does this mean?
With fantastic streaming Television, Movie and radio services as well as telephony options all available over high speed internet, the current speeds are simply INADEQUATE to run these services effectively. A typical Fibre installation is 30 times faster than the average copper-based ADSL and 20 times faster than the average 3G Internet speeds, while offering a very low contention ratio compared to ADSL and in some instances running on a 1:1 contention ratio (Ie. No need to share your bandwidth with other users and sacrifice speed during busy times).
Two somewhat periphery (to the media and telephony) but very important benefitsthat an operational fibre network in Parkmore brings are:
- Property value increase. Research conducted around the world has found that people are willing to pay a premium for a fibre-connected home, in some studies as much as 15% higher than they will for homes that don’t have fibre.
- Better security options via CCTV camera. Individual homes could run CCTV over the fibre network, with live video images being sent to a control centre for monitoring. Furthermore, if we choose, car-monitoring CCTV cameras could be installed throughout the suburb and run off the fibre network – something not currently possible.
Just a few simple examples of what an operational fibre network will give subscribers the opportunity to do in their homes are:
- Dispense with current TV contract in favour of a host of alternative movie / video streaming services;
- Watch Youtube videos without the annoying buffering and delays often experienced;
- Listen to a variety of quality international radio streaming services;
- Experience significantly faster upload and download speeds;
- Do away with existing telephone services in favour of inexpensive quality VOIP (voice over internet protocol) telephony services with cheaper line rental and international call charges.