Rural fibre connectivity in South Africa has received another boost with news that Frogfoot Networks has commenced with the rollout of its infrastructure in the Limpopo capital Polokwane. So far, Bendor Park and Welgelegen have gone live with high-speed broadband internet, with over 600 homes passed. This makes up around 10% of the company’s planned fibre network rollout in the city.
Frogfoot head of sales Shane Chorley says the expansion forms part of the infrastructure company’s strategy of rolling out fibre to secondary towns across South Africa, including the likes of Bloemfontein, East London, Ermelo, Middelburg, Pietermaritzburg, Richards Bay, Witbank, and others.
“Frogfoot is expanding in these towns as they meet our criteria in terms of the number of houses that can be connected, as well as the average household income in these areas,” he says. “While we are looking primarily at the consumer market, there are opportunities to target certain types of smaller businesses that are based in and around the residential areas.”
An open-access provider, Frogfoot provides options from more than 80 internet service providers (ISPs), which offer varying line speeds, data package sizes, and capped or uncapped accounts.
“Previous experience of expanding our network around South Africa has shown that these smaller towns are data starved, and that the introduction of affordable broadband connectivity leads to noticeable changes in user behaviour. It might take a while, but as people become exposed to the possibilities of quality high-speed internet, they consume far more data than before.”
Users are increasingly watching or streaming videos online, and in higher quality, as well as using the internet for more of their communication, education and skills development needs.
Chorley says the company is looking to foster partnerships with local businesses and communities, to improve safety and security through the rollout of fibre-connected CCTV cameras, and assist educational institutions with access.
“Schools within the coverage area can apply for a fibre link as part of the company’s schools promotion campaign, which gives these institutions access to a free FTTH connection of up to 1Gpbs, with their preferred internet service provider.”
Representatives from Frogfoot and leading ISPs will be at local shopping centres and along roads in Bendor Park and Welgelegen from 20 to 26 January to engage with residents on the different fibre packages on offer and to answer any fibre related questions.
* To see what areas are part of the Frogfoot FTTH network, go to the Coverage tab on the Frogfoot website.
DStv Now adds free education to ‘lockdown channels’
In its response to the COVID-19 lockdown in South Africa, DStv is offering 16 free channels on its streaming app
Two new channels have been added to a free service being provided on DStv Now, the online version of DStv.
In response to the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic, DStv owner MultiChoice worked with local and international news channels in mid-March to add 24-hour news coverage to the DStv Now free service.
The company says the intent was to help all South Africans stay up to date with announcements and developments, and the results so far are encouraging. Usage of the service has increased 20% since the lockdown began, and peak usage is up 80% compared to pre-crisis peaks.
Now, in another step to help families through the lockdown period, MultiChoice has added additional educational content to the free service with the Mindset PoP channel. This channel features educational programming covering the entire General Education and Training (GET) phase, including Early Childhood Development (ECD), as well as a key focus on the Grade 4 – 9 curriculum.
The channel aims to prepare children for when schools reopen. Mindset PoP will deliver live lessons daily, with six fresh hours every day. A website is available for parents to download worksheets and information sheets to work through with expert teachers. Lessons are based on the South African Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) and are also aligned to the Cambridge curriculum.
“We’re extremely grateful to all of the channel providers for being so willing to work with us to help all South Africans through this unprecedented lockdown period,” said Niclas Ekdahl, CEO of the Connected Video division of MultiChoice.
“Thanks to their support we’re able to keep people informed, keep kids’ educations going, and keep people entertained.”
The full list of channels available to non-DStv customers on the DStv Now free service is:
100 – DStv
180 – People’s Weather
238 – SuperSport Play
313 – PBS Kids
317 – Mindset PoP
320 – Channel O
343 – TBN
400 – BBC World News
401 – CNN
402 – Sky News
403 – eNCA
404 – SABC News
405 – Newzroom Afrika
405 – AlJazeera
414 – Euronews Now
417 – africanews
To sign up for the DStv Now free service, go to http://now.dstv.com
FNB Connect cuts data price by 55%, offers 1GB free
FNB Connect has reduce its data prices by up to 55%. It is also doubling customers’ data on Lifestyle plans without any price increase.
This weekend, FNB Connect will also give all its customers 1GB of free data during the national lockdown, with a validity period of 30 days. This lockdown data allocation is in addition to the Free Connect allocations that customers with qualifying transactional accounts receive monthly.
“This will enable our customers to save on telco spend, which is a regular feature in household budgets,” says Raj Makanjee, CEO of FNB Retail. “Access to affordable and free data goes a long way in assisting our customers navigate difficult times and is also aligned to our ethos of offering real help when it’s needed the most.”
Shadrack Palmer, FNB Connect product head, says: “In our efforts to provide our customers with more value for their money, we’ve reduced our mobile data prices and doubled the data bundles on most of our Lifestyle plans, to give our customers more reason to connect anywhere and anytime. This is needed now more than even, as South Africans are observing the 21-day national lockdown, with many strapped for cash during these challenging times.”
The new data prices and doubling of the Lifestyle plans are to be repriced as follows:
“Since the launch of our Free Connect offering in July 2019, we’ve tried to remain consistent to see how best we can incentivise our customers when they need it most,” says Palmer. “As FNB Connect, we understand the pressures customers are facing financially and are committed to providing better value at every opportunity.”