22nd February 2024 4:18 pm
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Can South Africa have 360 000 FTTH subscriptions in four years?

The numbers of the lucky few who have access to fibre to the home (FTTH) internet connections are seemingly growing by the day, and according to a new report from BMI-TechKnowledge, a third of a million people could possibly have FTTH by 2019.

BMI-T had a look at where all the companies have been installing FTTH in South Africa and where they are planning to go next, which spanned 448 areas comprising 368 suburbs and 80 gated estates – and containing around 500 000 homes.

There has never been such an aggressive push for FTTH than this year, with Vumatel taking the lead but leaving companies like Vodacom, Telkom and MTN not far behind. According to the report, there has also been a shift from what was traditionally rolled out to gated communities, to everyday houses in suburbia.

“Prior to 2015, gated estates had seen a higher rate of FTTH deployment and service uptake, but without achieving a significant presence in the broadband market overall. Across South Africa, there are also far more houses in suburbs (15 million) than in estates (420 000) although estates, in general, have an obvious economic attraction of higher uptake and lower per-unit costs,” explained BMI-T Research Director Brian Neilson.

Vumatel might be the most prominent in terms of marketing, but the firm has noted that Vodacom is actually the company which is making the biggest push to capture the largest FTTH slice.

“Vodacom is by far the most aggressive in terms of the sheer number of estates deploying, but Smart Village (recently acquired by MTN) has two very large estates, giving it a significant market share of both ‘houses passed’ and active subscriptions,” it said.

What is one of the biggest drivers of FTTH? Well, it turns out (and maybe not so surprisingly) that people just really love their streaming video.

BMI-T has previously written about South Africa’s video on demand market, saying that there will be between 692 000 and 917 500 active user households by 2020.

“Video on Demand (VOD) is expected to be a key driver of FTTH uptake levels. Based on the new FTTH forecasts, it is clear that most of these VOD households will still be using a combination of DSL and wireless technologies,” it said.

[Image – CC by 2.0/therubberduckie]

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