Monday, 31 July 2017

Cheap and Nasty

It is the last day of July and finally the timber poles are being erected in my street for the fibre rollout in Helderkruin, Roodekrans, and Wilro Park suburbs of Roodepoort. Just 1 month to go to the Go-Live date, and I am excited as a pig in Philistine but there is already such a who ah about it in the social media, that I feel I should give my 2 cents worth.

So as the lines are being drawn into the social sand, I feel it is a little too late to change the current course and do I want to... nah. We have be watching the fibre roll outs in other suburbs with a enviousness that could amount me moving to greener connected areas. A few months back this all changed as on the 14 June the company Vumatel and the local community met to discuss the matter of rolling out fibre here. This is what I know but please correct me if I am wrong. There are a few companies rolling out fibre into the neighbourhoods. Vuma one of the leading companies was bought out by Fibrehoods and formed Vumatel.

Like the rest of the fibre backbone companies the race was on, Vumatel operating under the profit principle are looking for areas of higher returns to roll out the fibre first, hence we are way down the list as there are more single stand dwellings compared to multi units such as town houses and clusters in Roodekrans, plus to make things worse it is very rocky here especially where I live.

Anyway, at the June meeting, Vumatel said that they only considered this area viable if they go aerial. This means that they will with the blessing of the City of Joburg, use the existing street light poles to run fibre aerially to each home and put where there is no street light poles these treated timber poles. Now this is where someone stood up and said that they have seen Vumatel’s aerial installations in Constantia Kloof and to them the aerial route is "cheap and nasty" and I quote verbatim. Cheap and nasty, wow that was rather harsh but I understand as in our area only one side of the road has street lights and the other side, well they would need the timber poles.

This small vocal group argued that digging trenches and lying the fibre underground was a better solution as aerial destroyed the beauty of the suburbs. Telkom laid trenching why couldn’t Vunmatel? But they are forgetting that Telkom was forced to trench as copper cable theft was rife and they were loosing money. In fact Telkom too is now installing aerial in Kloofendal. The nature of fibre optics does not have any monetary valve for thieves hence aerial is the cheaper, cost effective, and faster way.

Playing the Devil’s Advocate here, I would like to state for the other side of the coin, have you seen Vumatel’s trenching solution in Randpark Ridge? It took way too long and while digging trenches the sub-contractors cut power and water lines left right and centre.

Holding us by the short and curlies, Vumatel stated at the June meeting that they have only considered aerial in this area, trenching to them is a no go and they would look somewhere else more profitable. After a bit of back and forth, the final consensus was that fibre is needed and we cannot wait for another few years before another company comes along to offer us a trench solution. So yay we were given a Go-Live date of end of August, I can't wait.

For me trenching would be ideal but at what cost and when. So roll on the cheap and nasty please, we can argue about the semantics later.


Unknown said...

I promise you there would have been way more complaints if they were trenching. Driveways, lawns etc being dug up. Vuma does do a good job fixing what they have dug up, but I promise you the complaints would have come big time. Personally I can't wait!! I will be streaming inside, while the complainers will be sitting in the streets looking at the eyesore.

Unknown said...

Please get them to come accross to Breaunanda Krugersdorp. Really , there are no Alternatives here, ADSL is not even reaching 4mb and LTE is just to Saturated. We are Hungry for the Fibre in Breaunanda's side.

Hendre Van Der Berg said...

Thank you so much for your comments Jerome! Putting things into perspective.

Anonymous said...

Please come to Breaunanda Krugersdorp side. I battle everyday and have tried to find other alternatives and there is nothing available for this area. I'm sure there are plenty of residents here that will change in a heart beat.

Dewald Burger said...

Thank you for this. I have to make a small correction, though - Vumatel bought out Fibrehoods, rather than the other way around as you stated. Fibrehoods specialize in rapid fibre rollout using aerial routes, whereas Vumatel traditionally offered underground reticulation.

Another point is that although Telkom traditionally used underground routes, this was mainly for the main routes. Residential blocks have always been aerial. At least they had the rights of way to do it over private property, mostly in people's backyards on the boundary line. Alas, that option is not available to Vuma/ Fibrehoods.

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