Comsol launches national fibre connect network

01 July 2016 | Jason McGee-Abe


Comsol has launched what it claims to be South Africa’s “first and only nationwide open access high-speed carrier grade data network”.

Comsol Fibre Connect is set to connect enterprises in both major metros and small towns with over 200 towns and cities across the country being targeted for connection.

The combination of a fibre optic backbone with a high-speed, fully licensed wireless infrastructure provides near blanket coverage of metros, cities and district councils. It will enable carriers, service providers and telcos to connect their respective customers with speeds from 2Mbps to 1Gbps in six working days.

“With the advent of big data, internet of things (IoT) and cloud-based business applications and the increasing need for companies to use high-speed connectivity, the requirement for high-speed internet access is growing across businesses of all sizes and in all sectors,” says Iain Stevenson, CEO of Comsol.

“Whether an office in a CBD, a platinum mine in an outlying area, or a retail branch in a small town, a robust fast, efficient network is essential to growing and maintaining business operations.

A statement says the “key advantage of Comsol Fibre Connect is that customers are guaranteed connectivity of a high capacity, uncontended product, underpinned by a carrier grade service level agreement”.

Nedbank’s private equity business joins existing shareholders from Convergence Partners and the Comsol management team as a 25% shareholder in Comsol. Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) has also backed the venture as an investment partner, with an initial funding round of over ZAR500 million raised by the partners for the initial rollout.

Andile Ngcaba, chairman of Convergence Partners, adds: “For many years, wireless and other technologies were associated with being contended and unstable. Now, with advances in new millimetre wave spectrum technologies and the abundance of fibre backbone available and capillary network, businesses have the means to tap into a mixed medium, fully licensed capacity that enjoys the same quality, speed and reliability that, to date, fibre-only solutions could previously deliver.”

Comsol expects to reinvest and spend a further ZAR1 billion on existing fibre infrastructure and leased fibre, creating a massive opportunity for existing fibre players in the market.

The first elements of the network are fully operational and have been deployed in outlying areas. The majority of towns are expected to be connected by December 2016.