Imagine driving from Knysna to Cape Town in 3 minutes instead of 5 hours. That’s the difference between a standard 1mb/s Telkom installation and the proposed 100mb/s broadband plan for Knysna. It’s a nightmare for anyone suffering from electromagnetic sensitivity but to the majority it will be a dream made reality.
The Planning and Development Department of the Knysna Municipality has proposed a fiber optic network for the town. The 120km of super fast access to the internet would connect via long haul line to George. Within the municipality, microwave will link individual areas together.
“The fiber cable that is to be laid should consist of a 7-way flat fiber tube with one inner tube filled with a 48-strand fiber cable. This allows for 6 additional fiber cables, each with a maximum capacity of 196 strands each. One of the 7 tubes will be filled with a 48-strand fiber cable. Each strand will have a practical capacity of 4.5Tb/s which is far more than the entire Knysna municipal region will require over the next 20 years. The remaining 6 tubes can be filled with a maximum capacity of 20 Tb/s each.”
In our modern world, of uploads and downloads, entertainment and video conferencing, high speed connection to the internet is essential. For example, Knysna is home to some of the rich who spend weekends here but their working hours in Cape Town or Johannesburg. They’d be able to stay in touch with their business operations whilst spending more time in their home town. The fiber optic highway would assist growth patterns as businesses located themselves along it. Thesen Islands, the only ‘suburb’ with fiber optic cable would be able to overcome their over-utilisation problems by connecting to a ‘main line’. And partnering with NPO’s such as Digital Village and Zombeleni would afford access and education opportunities to poor communities too.
The Knysna Municipality would gain more rates and the town could be made safer with CCTV video feeds, rented at R500 per camera, to security companies.
The cost to the household consumer (a part of a subscriber base of 1000)would be approximately R275 (R20 for the link and R25 towards rates).
All (politicians and municipal staff) in the Section 80 meeting were excited about the possibility. Expect this to pass through the Mayoral Committee meeting and be voted on in the general Council meeting thereafter. If given the go-ahead, the roll-out will occur over 5 years. Phase 1 would include the Knysna CBD, Industrial Area and Thesen Islands. Phase 5, the last, would include Concordia, Karatara and Rheenendal.
The challenge is obtaining the R47 million needed for the rollout. No specific partners were mentioned in the Governance and Economic (Section 80) meeting but it would surely have been improbable for this proposal to have landed, after the Municipality’s budget has been allocated, unless a company or companies were already being considered. The responsibility will be to ensure that control remains in local government hands so that Knysna does not become slave to big business but rather encourages it.