South Africa: Dark Fibre Africa Peri-Urban and Rural Fiber Expansion Feasibility Study

Dark Fibre Africa (Pty) Ltd. (“DFA”) invites submission of qualifications and proposal data (collectively referred to as the “Proposal”) from interested U.S. firms that are qualified on the basis of experience and capability to execute a feasibility study to assess the economic and technical viability of fiber network expansion in areas with low-to-moderate population density in South Africa. The Proposal submission deadline is Monday, July 26, 2021. The U.S. firm selected will be paid in U.S. dollars from a $901,188 grant to DFA from the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.

About the Grantee

Dark Fibre Africa (Pty) Ltd. is an open access fiber infrastructure and connectivity provider in South Africa.  DFA formally launched its services in 2009 and is licensed to install, sell, lease, and maintain duct and fiber optical infrastructure in South Africa.  DFA has now deployed over 15,000 kilometers of fiber infrastructure in major metropolitan areas, secondary cities, and some smaller towns in South Africa. DFA builds and manages core networks within large cities and intercity fiber networks.

Project Background

DFA seeks to expand its fiber network beyond dense metropolitan areas to peri-urban and rural areas in South Africa over a four-year period in order to meet the country’s growing internet and data traffic demand and bridge the rural-urban digital divide.  While DFA seeks to expand its fiber network to peri-urban and rural areas in South Africa, the case for fiber deployment is not always obvious in these areas. Fiber deployment in less densely populated areas has fewer civil works costs, but the greater distances involved increase the overall cost of deployment. Additionally, rural and peri-urban areas represent a small share of revenues compared to urban areas, which can further undermine the business case for fiber deployments outside of major metropolitan areas. The Project would seek to capitalize on DFA’s open access model in order to aggregate multiple sources of demand around a site, thereby bringing down the unit costs of delivering network capacity to, and increasing revenue from, areas that might otherwise be unprofitable if only supported by the demand of a single service provider.

About the Study

DFA has performed a preliminary analysis that identifies sites that might serve as a basis of its fiber expansion. The Study would build upon the preliminary analysis conducted by DFA and evaluate the technical and economic viability of expanding DFA’s fiber network in peri-urban and rural areas as well as develop the associated business case.

The objective of the Study is to determine an economically and technically viable solution for the expansion of DFA’s fiber network in peri-urban and rural areas of South Africa and develop the associated business case. The Study would enable DFA to build the business case for its expansion into peri-urban and rural markets where DFA would otherwise be unable to support its customers due to the inability to justify the cost of investment.

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South Africa: Dark Fibre Africa Peri-Urban and Rural Fiber Expansion Feasibility Study

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