Dimension Data’s Internet Solutions (IS) division is at an advanced stage of planning for a project that could see it build out a series of metropolitan Wi-Fi networks to serve business campuses and city streets in densely populated urban areas. TechCentral quotes Craig Stewart, product manager for Wi-Fi at IS, as saying: ‘We have looked at it and we think it makes sense. I don’t want to commit to any dates but we are at advanced stage and have assessed the vendors we are going to use. We believe Wi-Fi is a strategic technology that can address some of the issues we have in SA from a broadband access point of view, taking broadband to the wider population’.
IS also plans to leverage the ZAR5 billion (USD612.2 million), 12,000km national fibre-optic network being built simultaneously by FibreCo, the broadband initiative that IS has a 33.3% stake in; other joint partners include local mobile operator Cell C and Convergence Partners, the investment firm helmed by Dimension Data chairman Andile Ngcaba. Stewart added: ‘Without fibre for backhaul, it is not going to work. You need to provide a phenomenal experience and fibre is the best way of doing that’. TechCentral adds that IS already has a notable interest in the Wi-Fi sector through its 51% ‘AlwaysOn’ subsidiary. AlwaysOn provides Wi-Fi hot spots in hotels, airports, restaurants and other high-traffic areas; it has a presence in around 900 coverage areas nationwide, consisting of more than 12,000 individual access points.