High-speed broadband in South Africa has been substantially lagging in comparison to the rest of the world. Vodacom is leading the charge towards the deployment of high-speed fibre access throughout the country with their Vodacom Fibre service, a premium lifestyle service offering that allows customers access to a greater world of online capability and services that is so much more than just ordinary internet access.
Unlike other service providers, Vodacom, which is a definite market leader, is in the process of building a full suite of services, including voice, video, music, security and automation, all of which will soon be available to Vodacom Fibre.
As part of their growing fibre footprint, Eagle Canyon Golf Estate selected Vodacom to roll out fibre-to-the-home. Rated as one of the best places to live in Johannesburg in a survey by The Financial Mail, Eagle Canyon just celebrated its ten-year anniversary and is one of the country’s most renowned estates, making it one of the best-placed environments for such an exercise. Vodacom already had seven mobile base stations on the estate connected by existing fibre infrastructure. As a result, there was already an existing working relationship with the estate management and, coupled with the fact that Vodacom demonstrated substantial knowledge with regards to infrastructure and service delivery, it made for a perfect combination for the roll-out of state-of-the-art broadband services. The Vodacom team reinitiated existing communication channels within the estate community via weekly newsletters and the posting of information on the estate portal and social media. In addition, open days were regularly held onsite, allowing for person-to-person communication between Vodacom and the residents, who were able to enquire about the Vodacom product offering and air their concerns.
The Eagle Canyon Home Owners’ Association initially had grave reservations regarding the disruption that would be caused as a result of the fibre installation and how any damage to roads and the surrounding landscape would be restored. Vodacom was able to resolve these initial concerns by providing in-depth explanations of the roll-out process, showing pictures of how it will occur and reinforcing the process of restoration. The use of 3D scanning, used during the site survey phase, helped to establish where and what infrastructure lay underground in terms of water and electricity pipes. This allowed for more efficient planning and disruption in the estate was kept to a bare minimum. The use of 35mm micro-slotting helped to repair the road network in a non-disruptive, neat and aesthetically pleasing manner.
In order to maintain an element of calm and reassurance, an onsite Vodacom sales agent was available during specific times of the week and over weekends, allowing residents to schedule meetings to discuss additional concerns.
Eagle Canyon is a considerably large estate with 1200-plus homes and security is, as in any residential estate, a key concern. Assurances about the number of outside contractors that would be required onsite in order to be able to complete the Vodacom Fibre Installation were essential. In order to guarantee the safety and security of residents, Vodacom undertook lengthy consultations with the estate management and head of security at Eagle Canyon regarding the construction process within the estate. It was imperative that both the estate and security manager were always fully aware of who the contractors were in order to monitor their movements while onsite so that they could notify the residents accordingly.
The assistance of the estate management was key to the successful implementation of the project and Vodacom ensured that they maintained a pleasant working relationship with the estate management and its installation teams at all times. More than 50 kilometres of fibre was used, excluding fibre required in individual homes, and the entire installation, which officially started in July 2015, is expected to be complete in less than four months, at the end of October 2015. Once the distribution network is completed in a cluster of homes, it should take between three and five days for homeowners to receive connectivity. Customers can order their Vodacom Fibre service through the in-estate sales team, online on the Vodacom website and, of course, by calling the Vodacom contact centre on 082 1904. To date, there have only been three priority one breakages, which were immediately rectified at no cost to the estate, and all the repairs of electricity and water breakages were completed within two hours of the faults being detected and installed outside specification.
A dedicated sales agent situated in an onsite office is now available to manage the relationships between Vodacom and residents of Eagle Canyon post-installation and homeowners are able to address any queries in person. The Blue Room, which is nearing completion, is another place where residents can go to utilise Vodacom Fibre 100mbps service as well as experience the entire range of services enabling home automation. Vodacom also provided 100mbps broadband connections to the estate management office, the club house, the security office and the Pro Shop in order to allow residents to experience true high-speed broadband brought to them by South Africa’s best network.