Infraco, which hopes to be granted its operating licence before the end of this financial year, is already busy gearing up its network in order to deliver on its open broadband access mandate.
CEO Dave Smith is confident that the Minister of Communications will release draft guidelines for the Infraco licence within the coming days or weeks, after which ICASA (Independent Communications Authority of SA) will have to finalise conditions and issue the licence.
Infraco is mandated to provide broadband access via a national network, as well as international connectivity for the people of South Africa.
Having inherited much of the Transtel network, the organisation already has a national presence in most of the country's main centres. It has also extended this network to include additional points of presence.
Infraco is also committed to further upgrading the network to cater for SITA's next generation network (NGN) plans and has also designed additional capacity to ensure that the national research projects also run efficiently.
Infraco also supplies backbone networking to Neotel and currently has a MTTR (mean time to repair) of eight hours anywhere in the country, coupld with 99,95% uptime.
The capacity made available for the Neotel launch included a number of 2,5Gbps units, many of which have since been upgraqded to 10GBbps units.
In terms of international capacity, Infraco has committed to a west coast cable which will consist of four fibre pairs – two express links between South African and the UK; and two middle drops to Nigeria and Ghana.
Although the final capacity of the undersea cable with be 3Tbps, it will initially have a 320Gbps capacity.
It is expected to cost between $550-million and $600-million to complete.
Smith says that during the year ahead, Infraco will continue to expand and improve its network infrastructure. This will include connectivity up to the borders that will allow access from Namibia, Botswana, Mocambique and eventually the whole SADC region.