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Herotel ramps up as it takes fibre to rural SA

The company that brought free Wi-FI to the city of Tshwane has quietly been building out its connectivity business – and is about to go large in the fibre market.

Herotel, which has been establishing itself as one of South Africa’s leading “last-mile” operators, announced today that it is consolidating its fibre assets and wireless internet service provider brands under the Herotel name, with a fresh national trademark.

“Over the last five years, Herotel has been quietly acquiring over 40 owner-operated businesses, which until now remained trading under their original brands,” says CEO Van Zyl Botha. “The plan has always been to unite these companies into a single national entity, which can then use its scale to bring about meaningful change to an industry that desperately needs a shake-up.”

As part of its acquisition campaign, Herotel also focused on software platforms, voice providers, and fibre networks.

“By putting all of these pieces together, it brings us closer to our vision: Everyone connected. It is the next step in our journey to bring excellent, affordable internet to all.”

Founded in 2014 with the stated goal of providing a single national fibre and wireless broadband provider that can better service South Africa’s growing internet connectivity needs, Herotel currently services around 83 000 home and business internet users.

Van Zyl says that enabling connection across the country enriches the lives of ordinary South Africans, stimulating GDP growth by driving skills development and creating job opportunities.

“While the fragmented local internet market has served a vital role in connecting underserviced regions of South Africa, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. By consolidating the market, Herotel is unlocking this collective value; amassing the scale and capabilities necessary to address the ongoing industry issues that prevent the national availability of internet.”

Already operating in over 400 towns, Herotel is building, selling and maintaining its own next-generation fibre and fixed-wireless networks across the country, servicing areas that many other industry players have not been able to reach.

“We are very happy to let our competitors fight it out in Sandton and Sea Point while we quietly build fibre and wireless networks in the more underserviced areas. These have included larger towns like Potchefstroom, Worcester, Port Elizabeth, Klerksdorp, and East London, as well as rural towns that others would never consider, like Queenstown, Cradock, Lichtenburg, and Wolmaransstad.

“Our operators all live in the towns we connect, so if your home internet is down it is also down at our staff’s homes. We are woven into the communities we connect and will continue to invest into and serve them to the best of our abilities.

“We believe that our current scale will allow us to play a meaningful role in correcting the connectivity imbalances that currently exist in these areas As we grow we are open to further acquisitions that bring new geographic areas or fresh skills into the group. Ultimately, our aim is to offer unrivalled customer satisfaction to our home and business clients, who rely on us for their video, data and voice solutions and services.”

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