The northern Johannesburg suburb of Parkhurst is aiming to become one of the first suburbs in South Africa to have its own fibre to the home (FTTH) network from Vumatel installed. And after many weeks of digging and cable slicing, operator Vumatel flipped the switch on the network – and it’s getting pretty impressive speeds.

“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,” a resident said at the time.

The first phase of network was switched on yesterday, and according to resident and DA Ward Councillor Tim Truluck the network is currently getting around 95Mbps download speeds, and 9Mbps upload speed.

“Connected residents in Parkhurst are the first in a planned roll out of 42 suburbs to enjoy this world-class connectivity. We are on schedule in Parkhurst and will connect all the homes by February of next year (2015),” Vumatel said.

The project, while successful, has had its fair share of challenges. The initial phase saw construction work across the suburb to minimise disruption, but that did not go according to plan.

“Our initial thinking was to spread construction work across the suburb. The plan was to dilute disruption rather than concentrate it to a specific area. We realise that this has led to some unintended consequences. It has made it difficult to manage contractors, solve issues and monitor quality. Being too widely spread is simply tougher to control,” Vumatel said in a progress update.

The roll-out schedule for the suburb's FTTH.
The roll-out schedule for the suburb’s FTTH.

“Launching FTTH coupled with real consumer choice through open access is an exciting and ground breaking development for South African internet connectivity and usage.  Not only does the network provide consumers with high speed access, but furthermore provides the ability to have both choice and control of their access to the information super highway,” says Vumatel CEO Niel Schoeman in a media statement.

The network gives residents a choice of 4Mbps, 50Mbps, 100Mbps or 1Gbps fibre connections.

[Image – Shutterstock]
Charlie started his professional life as a motoring journalist for a community newspaper in Mpumalanga, Charlie explored different journalistic angles since his entry into the fast-paced world of publishing in 2006. While fostering a passion for the arts, Charlie developed a love for technology – both which allowed him to serve as Entertainment and Technology Editor for an online publication. Charlie has since been heavily involved in consumer technology for various websites and publications. He thoroughly enjoys World War II films and cerebral documentaries; aviation; photography and indie music. Oh yes, and he also has a rather strange obsession with collecting coffee mugs from his travels.