A new company called Vumatel is bringing fibre-optic infrastructure to Johannesburg homes, one suburb at a time. Fibre to the Home (FTTH) delivers practically unlimited speed, capacity and quality in broadband connectivity, at a similar cost to slower competitor services such as ADSL, and it’s a huge selling point in the area.

Vumatel’s ‘fibrehood’ fibre roll-out started in Parkhurst in July 2014, after the community collectively requested proposals for high-speed internet for their homes. “Parkhurst was really a pilot test for connecting a suburb – before only gated communities and estates had been done,” says Giorgio Iovino, Vumatel sales and marketing director. “Now over 60% of Parkhurst residents have taken up the service and are connected to the network.”

Vumatel targets residents’ associations to mobilise support for their fibre-optic rollout. Once they have community buy-in, it typically takes three months for the installation in a suburb. “We try to rally about 30% of the community and get them to commit on a non-binding basis. When we reach that critical number we start rolling it out,” says Iovino.

Parkhurst (the first suburb, finished in February 2015), Parktown North and Greenside are already connected via Vumatel’s FTTH network. Saxonwold, Parkwood, Riviera and Killarney installations will be complete by early November 2015. FTTH in Victory Park, Linden, Bryanston South and Blairgowrie, Hurlingham and Emmerentia should be complete by early December. Glenadrienne, Hyde Park, Northcliff, Sharonlea and Olivedale have signed up for Vumatel fibrehoods in 2016.