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Cape Town on Track with Broadband Project


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The City of Cape Town's broadband project is well on it's way with the project ahead of schedule and the city rearing to go on getting Cape Town ready for the Soccer World Cup. The city is bracing itself for the workload and supervision necessary to successfully run and control the sporting event. The City has made a list of top priorities and the city has managed to complete the project under budget.

In the article below Paul Vecchiatto discusses and reports on the cities success on this project and progress they have made so far and also what lays ahead. Use the navigation link to view articles on the City of Cape Town on CBN's website as well as business related articles.  

CT Broadband Sprints to Finish Line


The City of Cape Town's R330 million broadband project is on track to be completed 12 months ahead of schedule and for R70 million less than originally estimated, says the city's telecommunications manager, Leon van Wyk.

Almost three years ago, the Mother City announced it would roll out a R400 million fibre-optic broadband network to link all its facilities and get the city ready for the 2010 Soccer World Cup. It also stated it would resell spare capacity to other users.

However, it took two years of planning and issuing requests for information before the final shape of the project became apparent.

“Since we received final approval from the municipal council on 29 October last year, things have really speeded up,” Van Wyk says. “We have fine-tuned the process, started consulting with private sector partners, and now we have found ways in which to reduce the overall costs, speed up fibre-optic deployment and minimise disruption of the trenching process.”

Van Wyk says the city is in the “head in the trenches and manholes” part of the project, but that once those parts are completed, the rest will follow in short order.

Top priorities

Recent tenders issued by the city are for:

* A telecoms facilities management system, published on 17 July and closed on 7 August;
* A materials and equipment tender for ducting and manhole lids and other such equipment, published on 19 June and closed on 23 July;
* An outside services construction tender for the building of ducting trenches and manholes, published on 10 July and closed on 11 August; and
* A switching centre tender, published on 10 July and closed on 11 August.

Van Wyk declines to put values to each of those tenders, but says the total value is around R100 million and the entries are being evaluated.

He says the first priority is for the city to be geared for the World Cup. This includes ensuring fibre-optic cabling – to cater for the safety and security demands, such as CCTV, around and near the Green Point stadium and the fan parks – is laid. This is on track to be finished by the first quarter of next year.

The rest of the fibre broadband project, which will also include the CCTV facilities for the Integrated Rapid Transport System, is now scheduled to be completed by the end of next year.

Working together

“One of the reasons for the rapid completion of this project is that we have signed 'co-build' agreements with other players, such as Neotel and Dark Fibre Africa, whereby we all cooperate on digging trenches and share facilities where it makes sense.”

He says the city is also preparing to allow other players to use its fibre-optic network. It is about to sign an agreement with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, for it to lease cable from the city as part of the South African National Research Network.

“We are about 99.9% of the way on that deal. Letters of interest have also been received from a number of commercial players and we are in discussions with them.”

The City of Cape Town is also about to start developing a new “wayleave and rights of use policy” for telecommunications operators that may need to dig trenches or use other public land to lay facilities. However, he notes that details are still being worked out and the policy is still in the very early stages.

According to Van Wyk, “wayleave” means the permission granted to dig trenches, and “rights of use” is the right to use the cable on a continuous basis.

Date Posted: 2009-08-12
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