According to MyBroadband.co.za, British Telecom’s international unit BT Global Services is gearing up to get involved in one of South Africa’s ongoing national fibre projects, with an announcement expected during the next few weeks. Speaking at the Submarine Networks World Africa 2011 conference in Sandton, South Africa this week, Stephen Kelly, BT Global’s head of Middle East and Africa operation, revealed that BT is set to invest in a fibre network in South Africa, with the FibreCo Telecommunications consortium its most likely target.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, FibreCo Telecommunications was formed in November 2010 when mobile operator Cell C, Dimension Data division Internet Solutions (IS) and Convergence Partners – the investment firm helmed by Dimension Data chairman Andile Ngcaba – announced their intention to team up to build a ZAR5 billion (USD750 million), 12,000km national fibre-optic network. FibreCo will build and operate a long-haul terrestrial network based on open-access principles. Construction will unfold in three stages, with the initial phase – scheduled to last two years – focusing on the rollout of a 4,500km ‘redundant core ring’ linking Gauteng, Cape Town and Durban to international landing stations – in Mtunzini on the north coast, and at Yzerfontein and Melkbosstrand above Cape Town.
Whilst news of BT’s involvement may come as a surprise, MyBroadband reports that BT is not a newcomer to the South African telecoms market. The telecoms group established its sub-Saharan African headquarters in South Africa in 1992, and has offered networked IT services ever since, supporting numerous large companies in the country. BT, it says, employs over 120 ICT experts with offices in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg, servicing more than 300 blue-chip clients in South Africa.