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Investment management firm Convergance Partners this week announced that it, along with Nedbank Private Equity and the IDC, have invested over R500 million in Comsol Fibre Connect.
Billing itself as South Africa’s “first and only nationwide open access high-speed carrier grade data network”, the network will reportedly connect enterprises in both major metros and small towns.
According to a press release sent to Ventureburn, the key advantage of Comsol Fibre Connect is that customers are guaranteed connectivity of a high capacity, uncontended product, underpinned by a carrier grade service level agreement.
The first elements of the network have reportedly been rolled out and are fully operational, with the bulk of the rollout anticipated to be concluded by the end of the year.
In addition to the funding raised for the initial rollout, Comsol expects to reinvest and spend a further R1-billion on existing fibre infrastructure and leased fibre, creating a massive opportunity for existing fibre players in the market.
“For many years, wireless and other technologies were associated with being contended and unstable. Now, with advances in new milimetre wave spectrum technologies and the abundance of fibre backbone available and capillary network, businesses have the means to tap into a mixed medium, fully licensed capacity that enjoys the same quality, speed and reliability that, to date, fibre-only solutions could previously deliver”, Andile Ngcaba, Chairman of Convergence Partners says.
According to Comsol CEO Iain Stevenson, the investments made into fibre networks to-date are not yet far-reaching enough, take too long to deploy and are extremely expensive for the provider to build everywhere. It hopes to circumvent some of those issues, especially when it comes to providing connectivity to outlying areas.
“With the advent of Big Data, Internet of Things and cloud-based business applications and the increasing need for companies to use high-speed connectivity, the requirement for high-speed internet access is growing across businesses of all sizes and in all sectors. Whether an office in a CBD, a platinum mine in an outlying area, or a retail branch in a small town, a robust fast, efficient network is essential to growing and maintaining business operations,” he says.
Natasha Haslam of the IDC meanwhile says that the investment “fits perfectly in to aiding our strategy of increasing penetration of high-speed connectivity and reducing costs through infrastructure sharing. It is hoped that this network will enhance communications for businesses in underserviced areas and aid in narrowing the digital divide.”
“We are pleased to be working alongside the experienced management team of Comsol and co-investors Convergence Partners, a longstanding partner of the Nedbank Group. We are excited about Comsol’s prospects and the rollout of Comsol Fibre Connect, particularly of the ability for their network to reach previously inaccessible areas“, says Clive Howell, Head of Nedbank Private Equity.