Vodacom to boost broadband services in South Africa’s KwaZulu Natal
Vodacom is to invest heavily in improving broadband services in the South African region of KwaZulu Natal, building fibre networks and 4G base stations.
The company said that providing network connectivity for people who reside in rural areas remains central to its commitment to bridging the digital divide
Ishmael Mathinya, executive head for operations for Vodacom in the region, said: “We believe investing in our network ensures that we deliver best-in-class coverage and customer service, not only to urban areas, but to people who dwell in township and deep rural areas as well, so they are well positioned to take advantage of the benefits of the digital revolution.”
The company will invest just over 320 million rand (US$19.7 million) into the network across the province during the 2020-21 financial year.
“We are deploying more sites in rural areas in this financial period in areas which did not previously have network access,” said Mathinya.
The company will install 50 new base stations across the province in the financial year, 27 of those have already been switched on. “An additional 19 are planned until the end of 2021 financial year in deep rural areas,” said Vodacom, which is part-owned by the UK-based Vodafone group.
The region increased its 4G footprint from 56% to just over 94% in the past two years to reach over 99% population coverage in the broader KwaZulu Natal province, said Vodacom.
Mathinya added: “There has been a massive focus on broadband connectivity in the rural areas, with LTE coverage specifically in the rural segment at just over 80% and plans to address remaining areas by the end of the 2021 financial year. Critically, the region crossed the 2000 base station mark in mid-year. Furthermore, we’ve completed an additional 625 sites as part of bandwidth expansion in order to provide far more improved data experience, largely targeted in eThekwini and Pietermaritzburg.”