The first phase MTN’s national long distance fibre optic network, between Germiston and Durban, is nearing completion, with two major nodes – New Germany and Durban – ready to go live.

The national network is being constructed in collaboration with Neotel and Vodacom.

Lambo Kanagaratnam, CTO of MTN, comments: “50% of the fibre floating and over 95% of the total route trenching has been completed – certainly a key milestone in our network footprint which is designed and optimised to link major population centres and economic hubs, as well as interconnect with the international submarine cable landing sites.

“We are excited about the two major nodes that have gone live as they are designed to accommodate significant capacity, thus enabling MTN to cater for additional customers in the area, where incremental capacity can also be used to service corporate customers with dedicated hosted and converged solutions.”

The historic project, which began in 2009, marked one of the largest collaborations in the South African telecommunications industry – covering 5 000km and connecting major city centres across South Africa – of which this is the first route.  This initial route plays a significant role in MTN’s goals to take Africa to the world and bring the world to Africa by linking up with the EASSy undersea cable on the East coast.

Kanagaratnam adds: “The network is designed to connect directly with MTN’s international cable assets, thereby allowing for Tier 1 Internet backbone access and high quality connectivity with other MTN operations across Africa and the Middle East.

“This allows for quality improvement – the network substantially increases raw transmission capacity to carry national traffic – enhancing network availability and resilience.”

It also allows for service innovation – the network creates a robust infrastructure to support fixed mobile converged services and the growing need of bandwidth intensive content – he says.