Vumatel offers free 1Gbit/s fibre to schools

Fibre-to-the-home start-up Vumatel has revealed plans to offer free, uncapped fibre broadband to 80 schools in its coverage areas this year at speeds of 1Gbit/s.

Vumatel CEO Niel Schoeman

Vumatel CEO Niel Schoeman

Fibre-to-the-home start-up Vumatel has revealed plans to offer free, uncapped fibre broadband to 80 schools in its coverage areas this year at speeds of 1Gbit/s.

The company has challenged other telecommunications operators to do the same.

“After a successful pilot with three schools, Vumatel will roll out free, uncapped, open-access fibre optic infrastructure to every school it passes during the deployment of its network,” the company said in a statement.

“Each school will be provided with a dedicated 1Gbit/s line and will be able to choose from a variety of Internet service providers for free uncapped Internet connectivity,” it said.

“The ISPs currently on board with the project include Cell C, Cool Ideas and Vox Telecom, with others soon to join the initiative.”

Vumatel piloted the initiative at Greenside High, Hoërskool Linden and Parkhurst Primary.

Already, Hoërskool Linden has used the fibre broadband connection to reduce its reliance on its own servers and move its systems into the cloud.

The school now has plans to increase the reach of connectivity beyond its computer centres and has introduced an e-learning tablet system to the grade 8 class.

Vumatel CEO Niel Schoeman challenged other broadband providers to follow the company’s lead.

“The incremental cost for telcos to do this is negligible when compared to the potential and fundamental impact it can have.”

The company said it has started introducing fibre to additional schools and intends providing free high-speed connectivity to 80 schools this year, reaching 65 000 pupils.  — © 2016 NewsCentral Media

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  • Ryan Coghill

    So the schools that can actually afford decent connections, get them for free……And the schools out on the East Rand, who really need a decent connection, remain neglected.
    Seems fair

  • dominic

    which is Vumatel’s fault how?

  • Kirsten

    Ryan, this isn’t the case. Many of these schools actually cannot afford decent connectivity. Schools are extremely constrained and have been unable to divert funds into connectivity. The three schools that fall part of the pilot are all financially constrained public schools and cannot spend thousands of rands on connectivity each month. Vuma is confident that many more of the schools they install fibre to will need the contribution just as much.

    They also have appealed to all telecoms companies to do the same; so hopefully a telecoms company with coverage in the East Rand will take up the challenge.

  • Ryan Coghill

    Dont get me wrong,I didn’t say it was Vumatel’s fault – kudos to them for doing this!
    My frustration is that every day you see another article about another service provider adding to the fibre infrastructure in the north, yet nothing happens out in the east – feeling neglected!

  • Ryan Coghill

    Fair enough Kirsten, and once again kudos to Vumatel – it is really great what they are doing! Let’s see what happens on the East Rand…..

  • Ofentse Letsholo

    Big ups Vumatel, hope others do join and all schools get proper connectivity.

  • aknit

    Well, in fairness, offering a local fibre tail is cheaper than the international bandwidth that goes along with it.

    It literally does cost Vumatel nothing to deliver a 1Gbps Ethernet circuit to the schools, because it’s a cheap port on a switch somewhere in their network. The real challenge is whether the ISP’s adding value to that fibre by delivering Internet access can afford to provide 1Gbps of free service to 80+ schools.

    I do applaud Vumatel for cheapening the local tails. Those should always have been astonishingly less expensive than the Internet access itself. So mega kudos to them. Other last mile service providers who primarily operate local Layer 2 Ethernet networks can do the same, and Vumatel’s challenge should hit home.

    The question, though, remains: will ISP’s will bite. For some, 1Gbps can be their entire network.

    –aknit

  • heinsky

    As far as I understand the ISP portion is included (i.e. also free)? – “Each school will be provided with a dedicated 1Gbit/s line and will be able to choose from a variety of Internet service providers for free uncapped Internet connectivity,” it said. The ISPs currently on board with the project include Cell C, Cool Ideas and Vox Telecom, with others soon to join the initiative.”

    Those ISP’s are certainly big enough to provide the data free?

  • baasted_123

    I have to agree with Ryan on the areas though.
    East and West rand also needs fibre and nobody seems interested to install there. The first provider that does will clean up the market an those areas.

  • William Stucke

    And once again, this initiative makes a nonsense of the “E-Rate” – the poorly conceived and badly worded section 73 of the ECA.

  • Sid

    Hi William. Would you mind elaborating a bit?

  • McTSA

    /bumps for attention 🙂

  • William Stucke

    Eish! I wrote a decent – and lengthy – reply to this question, but between my flaky old laptop and Discus, it seems to have been lost 🙁

  • William Stucke

    Hmm. This is too long. I’ll publish it as a proper article.

  • McTSA

    No worries, esteemed sir.

  • Sid

    Hi William

    I wrote a full responce to this over a week ago, but it seems TechCentral have denied it,

    In short:

    Thanks for the in depth and thorough reply, and I look forward to reading your full article.