Here’s a quick item on metro fiber from further afield than normal. South African-based Vodacom has tapped the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) for dark fiber to the tune of R1B, or (about $74M).
Prasa and its subsidiary Intersite have some 900km of 24- and 48-count fiber along its rail lines primarily in the Gauteng, Western Cape, and KwaZulu Natal provinces. They have plans to roll out more along its rights of way, which stretch some 2,228km nationwide between some 585 train stations. They’ll be benefiting not just from the dark fiber lease, but also when it comes to rebates on their own ICT needs and those they provide to commuters from Vodacom.
Vodacom, which is 65% owned by global telecommunications giant Vodafone, will use the dark fiber infrastructure to boost its national wired and wireless reach in South Africa. They have been trying to grow their infrastructure in the country via acquisition, but their proposed purchase of Neotel foundered when it ran into regulatory opposition.
Of course, using fiber along rail lines isn’t exactly a new idea, but terrestrial fiber penetration in Africa is still a limiting factor when it comes to bringing modern networks to the people of the continent. South Africa is probably the furthest down this road.
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