Melville Fibre-to-the-Home Update
As you are aware, earlier this year the Greater Melville Fibrehood ("the GMF") called upon residents and business owners in the GMF coverage area (Richmond, Auckland Park, Melville and Westdene communities) to provide comments and make suggestions in regard to the capabilities and parameters of the proposed fibre network and as to which FTTH network providers should be approached.
After considering the comments and suggestions that were received up to the cut-off date of 18 May 2015, and taking into account whether these network providers were interested in providing an open access fibre network in the GMF coverage area and had rolled out FTTH networks in the Johannesburg area, the GMF committee identified a shortlist of three potential providers.
These providers were asked to submit proposals in response to a Request for Proposal ("RFP") prepared by the committee. One of the providers identified did not submit a proposal by the cut-off date, leaving two proposals from Fibrehoods and Vumatel respectively to be considered.
Choosing a Supplier
After carefully considering the two proposals and taking into account the particular needs of the areas covered by the GMF, the GMF Committee has selected Vumatel as the recommended service provider based on the responses to the RFP and taking into consideration the needs of the residents and small business owners living in or doing business in the GMF coverage area. The committee applied a scoring matrix to the proposals and that of Vumatel scored 10% higher than that of Fibrehoods.
Why Vumatel was chosen.
Particular areas in which Vumatel's proposal was considered more suitable for the needs of the community, and which affected its overall rating, were:
- Aesthetics - Vumatel utilises buried fibre in ducts whereas Fibrehoods utilises aerial fibre strung on poles on both sides of the road in most instances - the committee was concerned about the visual impact of additional cables running through the area and preferred the buried fibre solution.
- Robustness of the infrastructure - As the fibre is underground in the Vumatel deployment it is not susceptible to damage from falling trees, vehicles and vandalism, unlike the situation which pertains with aerial deployment.
Vumatel's timing and installation fee
While Vumatel's indicated installation rate is slower due to the trenching required to install underground cabling than that indicated by Fibrehoods for its aerial deployment, the difference was not considered material. A matter which was of concern, however, was the fact that Vumatel charges a once-off installation fee due to the cost of trenching while Fibrehoods does not charge an installation fee for its standard pole to house aerial connection. However, while this was considered in the scoring, it did not change the overall result. Vumatel has, in any event, confirmed that this fee can be amortised over a 12 or 24 month period, should the customer choose to do so.
Melville's unique needs and the effect on the MSI camera roll out
The MSI (Melville Security Initiative) considered the GMF recommendation but decided to invite Fibrehoods into Melville against the GMF recommendation motivating its decision on the following basis :
- Fibrehoods offered 35 free cameras to Melville where all costs of monitoring are covered
- The connectivity for the MSI (for the overall camera system) is about 55% of the costs on Fibrehoods compared to what Vumatel would charge (R14 250 per R25 000)
- Vumatel would charge R2 500 per camera pole to connect it to the Fibre
- Fibrehoods have applied for the way leaves already (Vumatel would still need to apply) reducing the time to go live
- With the overall savings the MSI is able to go live with 75 cameras on Fibrehoods compared to being able to afford 25 cameras on Vumatel.