Safaricom is aiming to deploy the initial stages of a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network at breakneck speed using technology and deployment tools from its vendor partner Huawei.
The Kenyan operator is investing in FTTH access networks to strengthen its fixed broadband network services proposition and also support its mobile backhaul networking requirements as increasing use of 3G and 4G services leads to growing data traffic volumes. (See Safaricom Boasts Enhanced 4G Service With LTE-A Deployments.)
Safaricom Ltd. will initially deploy Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd 's end-to-end (E2E) FTTH solution, designed for emerging market deployments, in locations where it has already determined there is suitable customer demand for high-speed broadband access services. In those locations, the operator will branch out from its existing metro fiber network, using overhead/aerial installations where possible (to avoid any need to dig trenches to lay fiber cables, an expensive and time-consuming process).
It then has the option to integrate its fixed broadband access and mobile backhaul deployments by housing mini optical line terminals (OLTs) and mobile base station elements from Huawei in the same cabinet at the edge of the network, a move that will ultimately reduce network construction capital and operating costs as both fixed line and mobile broadband access services are using the same transport connections, rather than having separate backhaul connections.
Safaricom is also using Huawei's network management software -- the vendor calls it a 'lightweight mini operations support system (OSS)' -- to help enable deployment in just three months from a typical 18 months. The vendor is also supplying a smartphone app-based field engineer system that "integrates installation, maintenance, and operations, supporting on-site service provisioning and acceptance, shortening service provisioning period from two weeks to less than 48 hours."
"By using Huawei's E2E FTTH solution, we can quickly build the FTTH network," stated Safaricom Director Thibuad Rerolle in a prepared statement. "We are keen to broaden the development space for new fixed broadband services," he added.
The move comes at the start of what is expected to be a FTTH boom across Africa. (See Africa’s FTTH Boom is Here: Report.)
— Ray Le Maistre, , International Group Editor, Light Reading for Connecting Africa.