Project Status Update

The Link Africa / Frogfoot Networks project team will provide updates here to keep the community informed of progress as they work to roll out fibre to the Constantia Valley and neighbouring areas. Please come back to this page on a frequent basis in order to stay up to date.

2016

Date Action
01st Feb 2016 Link Africa gets awarded the Frost & Sullivan Awards for Cutting-edge Technology in Telecoms Infrastructure. Looks like Link Africa’s innovative methods of deploying fibre optic networks in existing sewers and storm water networks gets recognised everywhere else but by the Slaapstad Municipality…however the Constantia community and Link Africa remain optimistic that the City Council will conclude the City’s process shortly after 8 February and then we look forward to the rollout in our community.
26th Jan 2016 Moved website registration, packages and coverage map over to Frogfoot’s portal who will manage the ongoing process during fibre installation and sign-up of house hold with ISP. Every household that had previously signed up will receive (in due course) and email with the option to order fibre from an ISP of their choice, opt-out and be removed from the Frogfoot portal, or do nothing and accept that they will receive sales calls from ISPs.
17th Jan 2016 After protracted negotiations between the City and LinkAfrica, on 28 October 2015, the City Council authorised the commencement of a public participation process (PPP) in terms of Regulation 34 of the Municipal Asset Transfer Regulations, 2008. The City seeks to enter into a contract with Link Africa and grant it a right to use the City’s sewer and stormwater infrastructure to install fibre-optic cables for telecommunications purposes.

Although more than 2,000 residents in Constantia have already registered for Link Africa’s fibre through our community website portal, we now need to follow this process and email City representatives with our support for Link Africa’s fibre installation. Please use the link to the online comment form below in order to email the relevant representatives at City Council. We do encourage you to submit comments in relation to the matter and suggest you include your own specific reasons for your support (or objection) to the proposed contract.

Online Comment Form

2015

Date Action
11th November 2015 Red Tape by City of Cape Town – further delays
The Constantia Community and Link Africa have been complying in good faith with all the requests by the city, including the now 8 months wait for a public participation process to figure out if we (the people, rates payers and voters who initiated this project for Fibre in Constantia in the first place) actually do want it.
The city was supposed to comply with the already delayed timelines that they proposed, and now again have managed to throw a stone back at the Community by simply saying that “Unfortunately the matter was withdrawn from the agenda because many of the councillors had questions regarding the process” and “The dates of the 2016 Council meetings are not yet known” which means we cannot expect any decision on this project before March 2016, which is the first anniversary of appointing Link Africa and starting to work with the City on this project.Read the Letter from the City | Email The Mayor
10th September 2015 From Link Africa:
1. Link Africa and CoCT officials met on Thursday 10 September to finalise the agreement governing the use of city infra-structure and the right of use by LA to install and operate its FOCUS technology. The meeting was successful in finalising all outstanding legal matters.
2. Moving forward, the City will launch a public participation programme which will run for 30 days. Once completed, a summary of the outcomes will be presented to the sub-councils for their consideration.
3. This will take place between the 23 odd sub-councils between the 16 to 19th of November 2015.
4. Once this is completed, a detailed report will be presented to the full city council to decide upon.
5. This will take place on the 9 December 2015
Whilst this process takes place, Link Africa have commenced with traditional civils to trench parts of Constantia mushrooming out from Constantia Main Road. Details of exact routes will be published as wayleaves are approved and build capacity increased. Once LA have FOCUS approvals, they will speedily catch up with the fibre roll out using less intrusive technologies.All focus is now on CoCT to ensure that they meet the deadline of 9 December 2015.
9th September 2015 From Frogfoot:
Silverhurst is progressing well and on target for completion by the end of October 2015. Wayleaves for the backhaul route from Silverhurst to Constantia Mall are due to be released next week (14/9). Trenching to start the week thereafter (21/9).
24th August 2015 From Link Africa & Frogfoot Networks:
Good people of Constantia, an update on the approval process being followed with the City of Cape Town:Using LinkAfrica’s innovative FOCUS technology, disruption to your suburb is minimised, but it has meant a more rigorous and lengthy engagement with the City than expected. The City recently agreed to a 5 step process that would get us out of the starting gate. This is where we are with that:
1) Completion of an independent engineer’s report addressing FOCUS. Check.
2) Agreement on a tariff for LinkAfrica to deploy FOCUS in the City of Cape Town. Check.
3) Conclusion of a legal agreement governing the deployment of FOCUS in Cape Town. Awaiting feedback from the City.
4) Conclusion of a public participation process whereby you as residents have an opportunity to give your input into the deployment of FOCUS. Commences as soon as (3) is done; timeframe to be determined by the City. Supposedly a 21 day duration.
5) Ratification by various council structures of the above (first the SubCouncil serving Constantia, then the Cape Town City Council). These are dependent on when these bodies meet, which we understand is monthly.
The upside of this, is that once all the above is done, future approvals should be much faster. In the interim.
* The City has agreed to expedite the wayleaves for the sections of the cable route that will need to use traditional trenching. We are told to expect these by 9 October 2015.
* The survey of existing ducts in Silverhurst Estate is done, the results are positive, the final network design is done and the Home Owners Association has given the green light. The roll out starts today! We obviously need the backhaul link from the estate in place (which needs wayleaves), but it should (volente deo!) be possible for Silverhurst to be live in November 2015.
* Link Africa teams will shortly be visible in other areas of Constantia, digging pilot holes to prove existing services.
* A new Project Plan is due next week with revised dates – these will be translated onto the rollout map.
We’re well aware that a certain large, blue telco has awoken from its slumber and is rushing in to deploy FTTH in Constantia while we’re waiting for the starters gun to go off. Competition is good; it keeps us all on our toes, and we love challenging complacency, so all we have to say is… “what took you so long?!”
24th August 2015 On behalf of the Constantia Property Owners Association (CPOA):Several Constantia residents have expressed a sense of frustration with the apparent slow progress of our FTTH project – we am happy to report that there IS progress and that the legal process of having the correct framework agreements in place between the City and our chosen FTTH partner (LinkAfrica), covering the right of use of public owned infrastructure, is now well under way. Once all the aspects of these agreements are concluded and signed off, the public participation process can be initiated. This process is not limited to Constantia, but will affect the City as a whole, given that a number of other suburbs have expressed an interest in using Constantia’s example of an “Open” network in their communities.
We have met with and or interacted on email with several city representatives and we are assured that the City is not dragging its feet and that the City is as keen as we are to see conclusion of the current agreements as expeditiously as is practicable. The City does have a governance regime which it is hoped to be more inclusive of all aspects of the process than that which may be applicable in other less well administered cities in the country. The sewer and storm-water utilities in question are after all public owned facilities and due process has to be observed. LinkAfrica is also aware of these arrangements and is fully participating in the process, with significant steps already agreed to.
CPOA remains firmly of the opinion that the City is doing its best to facilitate the process. All the representatives we have interacted with, have given us a very positive perspective on the process.
All we can ask for is that the residents allow this process to conclude. It is in our best interests that the most thorough process be adhered to and that we set an example to other cities on what that process should be…..
We, the CPOA, remain committed to serving the best interests of the residents and their wish for a speedier sense of connectivity…..
Vasbyt…as they say.
15th August 2015 Delays by the City of Cape Town are pushing this project further behind schedule. Although the Focus technology from Link Africa is bringing fibre to the homes in Johannesburg, Bloemfontein, Pretoria, Durban and plenty of other ANC governed municipalities, our DA friends at the City of Cape Town have made life very complicated for our little project. Plenty of meetings with various teams at the City, a 64 page detailed engineer report (see link here), a license fee demanded by the City payable to the City for the use of water and sewage pipes (that will be surveyed and maintained by Link Africa at no cost to the City, oh and guess what – zero Rand charge by the ANC in Johannesburg & Pretoria) and now a public participation process to find out if the Community wants this project (?!?!?) will take up to 3 months before the go ahead can be given to LA to start deploying their locally hired teams, that have been trained and ever since sitting idle on thousands metres of fibre roles in the Cape Town warehouse.In the mean time, the City has given Telkom way-leaves to dig up the roads of Constantia (despite a clear MoU signed by the Constantia Community wishing to use less intrusive technology provided by Link Africa).Please note that this is my personal rant here but I also feel personally responsible for not delivering fibre to the home on time to the +10,000 homes that have now signed up on this project in the Constantia Valley & beyond. Democracy you may ask? I think it’s pathetic and I personally start to wonder if Cape Town’s slogan “The City that works for you” is still applicable.
15th July 2015 Meeting with DA-Councillor Xanthea Limberg in order to find out why Link Africa still has not been given the green light to push their fibre cables through the storm and sewage network in the Constantia Valley. Although the meeting was very positive, it is very disappointing, that Councillor Xanthea Limberg has not had the decency to respond to my follow-up email, that I wrote to her on behalf of the Constantia Community the very next day. I left two messages with her PA at her office and got hold of the Councillor herself on her cell phone the week after our meeting, and she promised to respond within a day max two. Empty promise it appears. It’s exactly one month later and the community still had no response from her.As far as I am concerned, the money that we as rates and tax payers contribute to the City’s budget is used to pay for the salaries of e.g. the Councillor, and it should not only be her duty but also at least common decency to respond to a community member that – on behalf of a large DA voting Constantia community – writes to her. Anyhow, I assume the Councillor is busy rolling out her own competing fibre network, as announced by the City of Cape Town the very next day after our meeting.Link to the un-answered email to DA Councillor Xanthea Limberg | CoC own Fibre Initiative
23th June 2015 Feature in the Constantia Bulletin – please find a link here.
9th June 2015 I’ve been so busy – and not much to update on the status here. The guys from Frogfoot have put together this nice little help PDF on how to order fibre in Constantia. Posted on Facebook as well. Enjoy!
28th April 2015 We are now working on providing (partially free) wifi access to users in the suburb who may not be home owners or tenants, including domestic workers, contractors and tourists. This will hopefully reduce the ‘digital divide’ in this country and enable users to use the Internet for the purpose of self-education. To this end, AlwaysOn and Cape Town City free WiFi have been approached to work out a partnership whereby they can use the fibre being deployed in the suburb to provide WiFi service in the suburb. Progress on these discussions will be available on the portal.
26th April 2015 More than 550 residents have used the last 4 days to enquire directly with ISPs in order to sign up for their fibre packages. Web Africa and Vox Telecom are on top of the leaderboard, followed by close contenders Cape Connect and ISP Afrika. There is no clear favourite package – all speeds from 10Mbps to 100 Mbps and all sorts of combination of data and added value packages have been ordered. We are working to get the remaining big ISP players such as Telkom, Vodacom, MWeb etc. on board soon.
24th April 2015 Backend admin system for ISPs launched, which gives them full and real time access to resident enquiries, statistics and other functions such as statistics. This internal tool will be extended as we go along with this project.
21st April 2015
(with slight delay)
Residents can start sign-up for fibre package from 1GB.co.za, Cape Connect, ISP Afrika, Nexus, Vox and Web Africa via www.constantiafibre.com/packages. More ISPs to follow in the next couple of weeks. This email was sent to all 1,600 pre-registered residents with a call to action to sign-up. What is nice to see that within 30 minutes of that mail shot being sent, 531 emails opened, 268 clicks and 22 valid orders/enquiries through the website lead generation system received. Thank you!
19th April 2015
(extended)
Deadline for ISPs to submit final packages & prices was extended to this weekend and we now have more than 35 ISP packages from six ISPs on board – others to follow next week.
8th April 2015 ISP Sign-up
The Constantia fibre rollout will be a truly open access network encouraging competition amongst multiple Internet, mobile, fixed telecoms and TV/entertainment content providers. If you are one of them, please download the below ISP sign-up pack and get in touch with the Link Africa / Frogfoot wholesale team via email:
ISP-Pack | Email Notification | constantia-fibre@frogfoot.com
7th April 2015 And the winner is…everyone!
Although the Constantia Fibre initiative has selected the joint venture between Link Africa and Frogfoot as their preferred service provider, they will be rolling out a truly open access fibre network for the Constantia Valley, allowing multiple Internet service (ISPs), mobile and fixed telecoms, as well as content providers to use their open access platform providing the best possible services and products to Constantia residents.
Memorandum of Understanding | ECNS License | RFP Submission | Presentation
6th April 2015 Nice homepage coverage on MyBroadband.co.za with a well written piece on our RFP responses
28th March 2015 Review of SP proposal(s) and initial feedback sent to all servicer providers with some follow questions.
RFP sent Commitment RFP responded Review notes
123 Net All sections completed
4th Dimension Technology
Cybersmart Withdrawn
Dark Fibre Africa Might come aboard later
Distinctive Choice
Fibre Connect / Vodacom
Fibre Hoods Constraints to utilise street pole infrastructure
Frogfoot JV with Link Africa
Greencom Current focus on Joburg
ISP Afrika Only do last mile of FTTH via MTN
Light Fibre
Link Africa JV with Frogfoot
MTN
Octotel
Open Communications Withdrawn since reseller of Cybersmart
OTEL Communications Acquired by MCD, timing constraints.
RSAWeb Not deploying FTTH at this point in time
Smart Village
Snowball
Sonic
Telkom 2x responses from Wholesale and Retail
Touch Fibre
Vumatel Timing constraints with existing Joburg projects
Web Africa ISP services via LinkAfrica & Frogfoot
Yeah Project size constraints
16th Mar 2015 Fifth mailshot to all existing registered residents reporting on 11 RFP responses
13th March 2015 About 11 written RFP responses received from service providers. See table above.
10th March 2015 Various meeting, Skype and phone calls with some of the service providers so far, in order to help with the RFP response. If any SPs would like to meet prior their submission, please do get in touch with me (Martin) via email and I will arrange.
6th Mar 2015 Fourth mailshot to all existing registered residents with call to join Facebook and Twitter page, and general follow up on RFP status.
5th Mar 2015 From approximately 20 fibre service providers, about 17 confirmed that they will participate and respond to the RFP. List of providers above in table format.
27th Feb 2015 Mentioning of the initiative in MyBroadband.co.za
26th Feb 2015 Published Request for Proposal (RFP) and invitation to service providers sent via email
25th Feb 2015 Setup social channels to widen communication. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter
24th Feb 2015 Third mailshot to all existing registered residents with call to action to mobilise neighbours
23rd Feb 2015 In touch with Bergvliet, Meadowridge, Doordrift and Tokai area to join Constantia Fibre initiative from March 2015 onwards
21st Feb 2015 More than 1,000 residents have signed up to the initiative showing their non-binding interest
20th Feb 2015 Front page article in the Constantiaberg Bulletin featuring the Constantia Fibre initiative with call to action for residents to register at the non-binding survey
19th Feb 2015 Second mailshot to all community databases (CPOA, Watch) with a call to register
Early Feb 2015 Various fibre operators approaching project team with request for taking part in the project.
31st Jan 2015 First mailshot to all community databases (CPOA, Watch)
27th Jan 2015 www.constantiafibre.com website goes live in beta
20th January Second Fibre Project meeting reviewing website content and strategy going forward. Agreed to postpone any fibre operator meeting requests to later after demand from community is registered through website
2nd Dec 2014 Fibre Initiative – first meeting with various stake holders of Neighbourhood Watch organisations, and CPOA. David Baker from Bishopscourt presenting his local project. Martin Diessner volunteered to the community organisations to run the project for Constantia.