With the fibre-optics roll-out visible in streets around Benoni at the moment, Vumatel has assured residents that they will reinstate affected driveways and sidewalks to their original condition and also said that roll-outs of fibre outside schools are a priority.
The fibre company recently dug trenches in Dalrymple Street which created a concern for parents of learners in Benoni High and Hans Moore whose children were no longer able to utilise the sidewalk after school.
Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department (EMPD) chief superintendent Wilfred Kgasago confirmed this infrastructure project is done by private contractors, who are compelled to put up signage and secure trenches with safety netting.
“The EMPD will conduct regular patrols in the mornings and afternoons around the affected schools,” he said.
“The EMPD Social Crime Prevention Unit has also requested to arrange road safety talks with the schools whose learners are affected.”
According to Vumatel’s key accounts manager for Farrarmere, Northmead and Lakeside, Travis Mason, this is how an area is selected for a fibre roll-out:
• Size and density of a suburb.
• The market and its appetite for fibre broadband products.
• Technical feasibility of the project.
• The council’s processes and amenability to the installation of infrastructure.
“Once we have an understanding of all of these factors, we reach out to key players in the community, like residents’ associations and CPF groups, to build a relationship with the community and gauge interest in the project,” Mason explained.
“Vumatel will not start a project in an area unless at least 30 per cent of the residents in the suburb have shown their support for it.”
The company is currently in the process of rolling out fibre optic infrastructure in Farrarmere, Northmead, Lakeside, Airfield, Rynfield and Morehill.
Mason said the fibre roll-out involves six phases, once all civil work is complete.
“We, therefore, ask for your patience during this time and assure you that we will not leave the suburb without reinstating it fully,” he said.
“Expect the civil and reinstatement process to take a few weeks.
“We have concrete, tar and paving specialists who will reinstate driveways.
“If we damage your irrigation, plants or pavements, we will rectify this during the reinstatement phase.”
He also explained that sidewalks belong to the council and are not the property of the homeowner.
“The council is, therefore, in a position to provide us, and other infrastructure providers, with permission to dig a trench,” he said.
“Vumatel understands the amount of effort many South Africans put into keeping their driveways looking good, so we commit to fully reinstating each driveway to its original condition.”
It generally takes between three to six months for fibre to be rolled-out, depending on the size of the suburb.
“Construction teams take photos of driveways and verges every three metres prior to construction, for reference, so that they can reinstate these to their original condition.
“We have a rigorous inspection process, where our quality assessment teams walk the block and highlight issues, which the teams then rectify for further inspection,” he added.
“Vumatel uses contractors to complete the civil work. Should you have any queries or concerns, direct them to a Vumatel employee and not to the contractor.”
The project management team is visible in their pink safety vests.
Once the fibre work is completed, the fibre is then provisioned through the protective ducting and is terminated to every resident’s boundary wall.
“Terminating the fibre to the boundary wall allows each resident to order a dedicated fibre line, should they wish,” Mason said.
The fibre is tested for quality purposes and then the suburb is ready to go live. Mason said fibre optics is the most future-proof infrastructure for internet usage available.
“It is made of glass which has a far greater speed and bandwidth capacity than copper (ADSL) and has no intrinsic value, which means it is less likely to be stolen,” he said.
“Data travels through the fibre tubes like pulses of light and because the fibre is made of glass, data can effectively travel through fibre at the speed of light.
Mason added that Vumatel is not a service provider but simply installs the infrastructure.
The Vumatel area managers for the various suburbs can be contacted on:
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