Monday, March 13, 2006

Tshwane Shows the Broadband Way

Tshwane (formerly Pretoria) is widely considered the leader when it comes to municipal telecoms, and when one looks at their infrastructure and projects it is not difficult to see why.
This municipality has developed an extensive fiber infrastructure and is now starting to build telecoms services on this foundation.
One of the most exciting developments is the Rooiwal Broadband Village project where all the houses in this town have been furnished with a 4 Mbps broadband connection. These connections are 4 times faster than Telkom’s fastest DSL offering, and make use of Broadband over Power Line (BPL) technology.
The traffic is carried over 28 km of Tshwane’s fiber network while the last mile connectivity is provided through the existing power cabling. The full BPL network has a theoretical capacity of up to 200 Mbps.
Charles Kuun, Manager of the Tshwane Digital Hub, says that the project is a great success. He pointed out that users utilize these fast broadband connections for anything from research to entertainment.
This project has proven to be so successful that Tshwane is now preparing for commercial launch in the East of Pretoria. Specifics surrounding this project are not public knowledge yet, but if Rooiwal is anything to go by residents of this city is sure to benefit from the innovation by Kuun and others.
The Tshwane Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) is however not only sticking to fixed networks, and based its developments on wireline, wireless and powerline (PLC, BPL) communications.
Tshwane aims to establish integrated broadband networks creating an effective broadband cloud over the city. They further plan to provide free Internet points and would like every citizen to have an email address and a means to access their mail.
This may seem like a very ambitious aim, but Tshwane is working with various interested parties to ensure its success. With their extensive fiber network and the innovative use of existing technologies it is not far fetched at all.
Many other cities in South Africa are moving in the same direction, and these municipal developments are one avenue which may just prove to be the solution to South Africa’s broadband dilemma.

The wonderful irony is that Telkom's head offices are in Tswane, so it is great to see this happening right under their noses! Also, my former high school is in Tswane, so I'm doubly proud.

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