DFA and its parent company, Maziv, have followed up their network expansion project with two additional infrastructure upgrades to improve network stability in dense areas, accelerate delivery of new services and to future proof the network to provide for scale and sustainable growth.

In August 2023, DFA announced a R400-million fibre network expansion project to deploy 800 Dry Underground Distribution Cabinets (DUDC) all over South Africa in areas with high network density.

Now, DFA has announced the launch of two more initiatives aimed at enhancing the DUDC project’s efficacy.

Andreas Uys, chief technology officer at Maziv, says: “The two new infrastructure upgrades build on the foundation laid by our considerable infrastructure upgrades in 2023 and will significantly enhance the reliability and speed of service delivery for our customers, starting in the Gauteng region. This is the densest portion of our network, and our goal is to bridge over existing customers to the new infrastructure as quickly as possible.”

The first upgrade operation, the ‘yellow cable’ project, aims to reduce the number of access points that service teams use to perform maintenance and install new connections. By streamlining these processes, DFA can significantly boost network stability and resilience, and accelerate service delivery.

“From a technical perspective, we are rebuilding the backhaul infrastructure from each DUDC unit to the closest aggregation node, as well as between core aggregation nodes. With the expanded capacity and ease of deploying new services directly to a DUDC unit, it will be faster and more cost-effective to build.”

The second of the two projects, the ‘grey cable’ project, effectively separates DFA’s infrastructure from client infrastructure, and boosts DFA’s capacity to increase bandwidth speeds and provide new managed services more swiftly. It will also provide increased redundancy and route diversity, which offers an affordable protection to customers to prevent network isolation or losing network and internet connectivity.

Maziv chief operating officer Dewald Booysen comments on the rollout of all three projects. “We ran multiple rehabilitation initiatives in 2023 to bring stability back to the network in the wake of vandalism and third-party damage that caused numerous outages. These initiatives were largely successful but were a temporary measure in preparation for these major upgrades planned for 2024.”

Booysen adds that several DUDCs are already live in the Gauteng South region, and that DFA plans to roll out complete DUDC coverage in 13 precincts within the region by the end of September 2024.

“This is an aggressive target and will be dependent on several things going according to plan. We are also planning as much as we can for issues outside of our control, like vandalism, which diverts time and critical resources away from projects like this,” says Booysen.

“DFA customers will receive constant communication regarding the progress of the rollout of both the yellow and grey cable projects. Our goal is to be completely transparent and provide customers with tangible data showing the impact of these upgrades. They will be able to benchmark this progress against our stated targets for national network performance.

“We expect to be able to show customers the impact in an upgraded area. We want to be able to show tangible improvement in service delivery and service assurance per precinct, which customers can monitor as the rollout is completed.”