South African altnet Vox Telecom, which was taken off the market in late-January 2015, has announced plans to build its own national fibre-optic network in order to connect business subscribers to its core infrastructure, TechCentral reports. The deployment forms part of a five-year strategy which was adopted after Vox’s majority shareholders – Metier, RMB and Investec – decided to pursue a stand-alone business plan. Vox CEO Jacques du Toit disclosed that the fibre plans represent the operator’s first investment in network infrastructure, adding: ‘We will slowly deploy infrastructure to our customers, starting with 100Mbps fibre circuits.’ The fibre-optic deployment will start in the main urban centres of Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, with subsequent rollouts in smaller cities such as Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane; regional centres and smaller towns (Mmabatho, Upington and Kimberley) will also be included within the planned fibre footprint. However, Vox Telecom is not planning to deploy fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) services, as it prefers to work with open-access fibre infrastructure companies (Vumatel, Dark Fibre Access [DFA]) to provide bandwidth to end-users.
In addition to its increased investment in fibre, Du Toit said that Vox Telecom is also keen to bid for new frequency spectrum when it becomes available: ‘Vox will definitely play … We will be a serious contender. We are a disruptor in the market and [telecoms regulator] ICASA should give the likes of Vox a fair chance.’ TeleGeography notes that ICASA is planning to auction frequencies suitable for high speed broadband services by July 2015.