A Johannesburg suburb well-known for its restaurant and village culture is now aiming to become one of South Africa’s most connected.
The Parkhurst Residents and Business Owners Association (PRABOA) has put out a request for proposal for Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) vendors to install a fibre network in their neighbourhood.
This follows an almost unanimous vote at the PRABOA annual general meeting on May 13 where over 150 residents voted in favour of the initiative. At the meeting, resident Ryan Hawthorne presented a recently conducted online survey, which found that 67% of residents were willing to pay R750 per month or more for fibre connectivity and 77% willing to pay R1,000 or more in installation and capital costs.
“We have already had several proposals from key telecommunications players and we’re excited that Parkhurst is seen as a viable FTTH project,” says Hawthorne. “Preliminary indications are that the project will need investment of between R10-million and R20-million to connect up the 2100-odd stands in the suburb.”
Initial proposals have included trenched fibre as well as aerial fibre solutions. Hawthorne is confident that Parkhurst will find a partner who sees business value in the venture. “Parkhurst has an enviable mix of a wealthy community with high residential density. It also has a strong business node along 4th avenue and 6th street, which is crying out for reliable broadband.”
“For a number of years Parkhurst has suffered from unreliable and slow ADSL due to our distance from the closest Telkom exchange. What we are looking for is a reliable network operator who will be able to address the community’s need.”
Several major operators have already indicated their willingness to take up the project. “One of the proposals indicated that residents would be offered 100mbps line speed for about R700 per month,” says Hawthorne, “with data being offered as low as R2 per GB from several data providers”.
“The beauty of the network is that it will enable us to support other initiatives such as a high-definition video camera security monitoring solution for the neighbourhood,” says Hawthorne. “For residents it’s a no-brainer, as property values will increase significantly once the network is installed.”
The call for proposals ends on May 30, after which PRABOA will select their preferred provider.