Dark Fibre Africa

Dark Fibre Africa (DFA) was established by Community Investment Ventures (CIV) and Venfin to build a carrier-neutral, dark fibre infrastructure for the transmission of metro and long-haul telecommunications traffic.

Dark fibre is new to the South African market, which until 2006, had only one licensed provider of fixed line telecommunications services. With the advent of a deregulated telecommunications environment, new licensed operators began to commission their own network infrastructures. Since the routes on which these networks will be constructed are typically in centres with the highest commercial and population concentration there is a high level of overlap. In the construction of fibre optic transmission networks, civil engineering infrastructure and ducting account for 70 to 80% of total costs, but deliver no strategic advantage to the operator.

Sharing this cost with other operators is therefore a natural course of action. Over and above the economics involved, issues such as minimising disruption to other utilities, business and metro services, motivates a coordinated effort to the construction of these digital highways. While it can be expected that carriers will from time to time share or swap out their own infrastructure with competitors, it is important to note that Dark Fibre Africa (DFA) is carrier neutral and does not compete with the users of its service.

Its state-of-the-art, secure ducting infrastructure, enables large users of communications capacity to enjoy logical separation and ownership of communications capability, whilst sharing the same physical right of way access routes with their customers. DFA is responsible for financing and constructing ducting infrastructure and making discrete fibre cables available to individual operators of telecommunications services. These operators are then responsible for "lighting" the fibre and onward selling the capacity to their customers.