In 2007, Dark Fibre Africa (DFA) was established to build and maintain an open-access, dark fibre infrastructure for metropolitan and long-haul telecommunications traffic. Now, five years later, DFA‘s network is quickly approaching the 7000 km milestone.
Until 2006, South Africa had only one fixed-line telecommunications provider. When the South African government deregulated the telecommunications environment, it opened up the market to anyone who could obtain an ICASA licence.
Newly licensed telecommunications providers began to commission their own infrastructure. Soon, they realised that their networks started to overlap with those of their competitors. They also found that building their own networks was extremely expensive. Civil engineering and trenching accounted for up to 80% of the total cost, but did not give them any strategic advantage. Over and above the costs, they had to deal with issues such as minimising disruptions to other utilities and services and minimising the impact on the environment.
To enable them to enter the market more quickly, some of the new licence holders opted to rent infrastructure and managed services from other, more established providers. However, since these providers were often also their direct competitors, the rental came at a premium. Taking into account all of these difficulties, the founders of DFA realised that it made more sense to have a coordinated effort in constructing optical fibre infrastructure. And so, they established DFA to fill the gap.
With our state-of-the-art, secure ducting infrastructure, DFA enables telecommunications providers to concentrate on their core business – managed services to their customers – while leaving the financing, building, and maintenance of the necessary optical fibre infrastructure up to us.