Today ( 5 December 2018) we had a productive meeting with Sunil Piyarlall, the Senior Manager for regional network planning for the Eastern regions, from Openserve (fibre and internet provider). Sunil gave us an extensive detailed description of the area concerning networking (internet). The meeting included Phillip Lennon from Looking After Leisure Bay, and Jené DeSanté from Cyberware.
It is important to note the area that Openserve sees as “our area” stretches from Leisure Bay in the South through to and including Pallm Beach in the North. The R61 is the western boundary.
Regarding fibre things are not looking good for the above mentioned area. We are number 3060 on the priority list. The installation and setup of fibre will cost Openserve over R20mil for 393 customers. Sunil who is in charge of the Regional Network Planning stated that equates to 3% of the current market penetration. there needs to be an interest of 17% in the area before they consider putting in fibre, so the costs won’t be viable.
The good news is that there are other options. They can install iMax boxes (Integrated Access Systems) that can provide up-to 20mb to the area. The prices will be similar to fibre but better yet a person wont need to change their internet service provider, so in other words you can upgrade your internet without having to change where you are getting you internet from. Sunil’s team is busy with a feasibility study in this regard and he will let us know the results of that study in the next two weeks or so.
Sunil also explained the reason why if we get a break that the entire area goes down. Our internet lines are not a protected exchange, which means that if there is a break somewhere, then the entire system goes offline. By April 2019 they say the lines will be protected. This means that if the line breaks the system will not go down as it will link up to another line and provide internet without interruption.
If we want to stand a chance of being considered for fibre, then we need to hit that magic 17% mark! Our mission is to gather as many people, whether it be holiday home owners, businesses or individuals that already live here, to make a noise and say “hey we want better internet!” If you don’t have internet that is not an issue the vote is what counts. If we get the ratio to 17% from 3% they can upgrade the internet to fibre, as Sunil stated that this is the cheaper option for them as copper is expensive to install and maintain.
Let us make a difference not only for the residence of Leisure Bay but also the businesses that run interdependently from home. We need this message to be spread on all social media platforms in the Rea that Openserve has mentioned. Openserve has also stated that they will use the NPO Looking After Leisure Bay as their research partner for this exercise.