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Connecting to the future: How fibre unlocks new opportunities for your business

By , Chief Commercial Officer, Openserve.
20 Mar 2024
Phila Dube, Chief Commercial Officer at Openserve.
Phila Dube, Chief Commercial Officer at Openserve.

Broadband connectivity in South Africa has been transformed thanks to the proliferation of fibre optic cables installed across many of the country’s metropolitan and urban areas, creating a web of cutting-edge internet infrastructure. The increased availability of fibre marks a turning point for both consumers and businesses as faster, more reliable broadband enables all spheres of life, from entertainment and education to data hosting and product development.

In a way, fibre represents a turning point for fixed-line network infrastructure in South Africa. As consumers and businesses made the jump from dial-up to DSL all those years ago, so too are they switching to fibre as the optimal connectivity solution. This is also thanks to competitive packages that meet users’ specific internet needs, as well as an ecosystem of infrastructure providers that tailor installations according to geographical and architectural requirements.

In the age of business digitalisation, enterprises of all shapes and sizes are investing in next-generation technologies that propel them into the digital landscape, all made possible through cost-efficient, reliable fibre connectivity. From SMEs who are just starting to interact with digital platforms, to multinationals that seek to expand their enterprise IT operations, fibre enables businesses to take the next step in their strategic journey.

Fibre: Essential for a healthy business

South Africa is home to multiple fibre network operators with a national footprint covering millions of households and businesses with routes in excess of 170,000 kilometres. Even with estimations that only 12 - 18% of South Africans currently have access to fibre, the industry is expected to invest R3 billion every year over the next three years to meet growing demand.

There are multiple benefits to fibre optic cables. The technology offers symmetrical and much higher speeds than traditional connections, allowing enterprises to download and upload data with minimal delay. They are more reliable as they are less susceptible to weather-related incidents and electrical interference, and can offer much higher bandwidth capacities for more intensive user requirements.

Importantly, fibre also opens the door for businesses to leverage the full power of cloud computing. Its adoption enables enterprises to modernise their IT infrastructure and explore new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI). Furthermore, the cloud is scalable, meaning enterprises can increase their capacity and infrastructure capabilities as they grow. But before any of this, especially for those who are just starting on their digitalisation journeys, enterprises need an optimal broadband connectivity solution.

Connectivity for SMEs and more

From a macro standpoint, fibre networks are a key component of offering universal, affordable, and high-quality broadband to South Africa’s business community, both the one that exists now and the one that is yet to come.

The move to fibre is an important and strategic one in any sector. In education, fibre connectivity lets students reliably engage in remote learning programmes and receive training in essential 4IR digital skills. In healthcare, officials and organisations can send and receive patient information securely and timeously, resulting in improved efficiency and delivery of services.

For small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), fibre connectivity is a cost-effective solution and offers more added value in terms of utility and investment. The nature of fibre technology means that SMEs also have their pick of service providers to help meet their connection needs. These can range from teleconferencing and posting on social media platforms, to developing digital products and services and running complex IT environments.

Whatever the scenario, fibre networks pose tangible opportunities that aid South Africa’s digitalisation efforts. By liaising with service providers and seeking out the best deals, businesses can connect to the future.

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