FibreCo Telecommunications has celebrated the training of its 200th fibre technician at the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre in downtown Johannesburg.
Fibre connections are much faster and more reliable than ADSL, seeing as they do not contain the copper that cable thieves are after when they dig up the buried phone lines on which ADSL depends.
But with more fibre connections being installed weekly, an army of technicians is needed to maintain and repair them. Thus, a market for training individuals in fibre installation, repair and maintenance was born, and FibreCo is one such company facilitating that training.
“Without human capacity, there will be no network. What is really important in this industry is how quickly faults can be repaired, as there are many things involved in the network. So far, FibreCo has invested around R20 million for that reason,” said FibreCo CEO Arif Hussain at the Sci-Bono event this morning.
The company currently has over 4 000km of fibre connections across 50 different points, but Hussain was quick to add that FibreCo isn’t training the technicians just for themselves, but for everybody.
“We employ a certain number of people, but we make a network for all people and all partners. It is an industry collaboration – not a competition. The skills we teach aren’t just about technology, but also about entrepreneurship,” he said.
The Sci-Bono Discovery Centre, which teamed up with FibreCo added that it wanted to invest in skills development and training, and started doing so about two years ago.
“Our IT academy has become hugely important, but a lot needs to be done to improve IT in rural areas. We have a long way to go before we can catch up with the rest of the world, but IT in South Africa has only begun to blossom in the country. That is why the work we are doing with FibreCo is very important in driving SA forward,” said Sci-Bono CEO David Kramer.
The Sci-Bono Discovery Centre isn’t the only company that FibreCo has joined forces with, as it has also formed a collaboration with Saab Grintek.
Saab has employed 25 of the 100 FibreCo trainees trained last year; of those 25, six have progressed to being competent in fibre splicing.
FibreCo’s training of 100 technicians this year and another 100 last year was summed up rather nicely by Saab Grintek:
“A lot of fibre technicians will be needed in the future. Telkom wants to have over 1 million fibre connections in the next couple of years. Think about all of that for a second; think of all the splicing that will need to happen. The ability to provide technicians will be important to the ordinary South African,” a company representative said.[Image CC by 2.0 – Michael Wyszomierski]