South Africans are moving to smaller towns – and bringing faster internet with them

More South Africans are moving to smaller “zoom towns” along the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal coasts – a shift that is reflected in faster internet speeds, according to the Wireless Access Providers Association ( WAPA).

While semi-free residents can expect to pay lower taxes than in larger cities such as Johannesburg and Cape Town, remote working has historically been hampered by a lack of internet connectivity, the group said.

“Fiber is often touted as the holy grail of connectivity,” said WAPA Executive Committee Member Paul Colmer. ” Do not mistake yourself. That’s fine when it’s available, and when the service hasn’t been interrupted by someone digging up the cable.

“But that’s not the only way to get reliable high-speed internet to properly support remote working and, quite frankly, it’s just not available in many places and takes a lot of time and effort to get there,” he mentioned.

Colmer, who lives in a small town along South Africa’s rugged coast, noted that small town dwellers often complain that big providers don’t want their business enough to provide them with LTE. fixed, cellular data coverage can be spotty and is the most expensive. way to connect in South Africa.

More and more satellite options are coming online for consumer services, but can also be expensive, he said.

“What a lot of our members and other service providers are doing now is bringing fiber to an elevated site in or near the city. They’re using the tower to deliver high-speed wireless broadband to connect everyone who wants to.

“Either they throw a wireless ‘blanket’ over the area, just like your router at home, but on a much larger and more powerful scale, and anyone can connect to it. Or they shoot a high power wireless beam at your dish so you get safe and secure high speed internet. The fiber then connects the tower to the rest of the country.

Advantages

This approach is rapidly gaining popularity as it leverages the strengths of fiber and the strengths of wireless, combining the two into a powerful, faster, cheaper and more reliable broadband service. Particularly for people living in isolated places that have been neglected until now, Colmer said.

There is no need for contractors to dig trenches all over town. There is no risk of digging into and damaging sidewalks, roads, water pipes and other infrastructure such as electrical cables.

“The business model makes sense,” said the managing director of a regional service provider in Ladysmith who wishes to remain anonymous.

“Rather than having a swarm of fiber optic providers all competing with each other, their contractors digging into each other and into the city’s infrastructure, you get a positive outcome that’s good for everyone. world. Cities attract new taxpayers, people can get connectivity for entertainment and work, and service providers attract new customers, even fiber providers. It’s a win-win-win. What could be better?”

Hotspots for these new developments include small coastal towns in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, but the pattern is spreading to many other regions.

Anyone can find any of these suppliers by using the Find a Supplier search tool on the WAPA website, which is a not-for-profit industry association. here.


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