The new optical fibre cable manufacturing facility in South Africa is potentially set to become the largest in the country.
The company will supply optical fibre cable and FTTH solutions to the local telecommunications market, including industry players, such as Telkom, Neotel, Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, Vumatel and Link Africa, amongst others.
“We are targeting both the public and private sectors, with the aim of significantly bringing down the cost of optical fibre cable in the country,” said Pieter Viljoen, CEO of Yangtze Optical Fibre and Cable Joint Stock Limited Company (YOFC), which has partnered with JSE-listed Mustek as its Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment partner.
“A comprehensive range of new generation optical fibre cable products will be manufactured locally after the completion of the facility, for both the South African ICT market, as well as key export markets in West and East Africa.”
“With an envisaged manufacturing capacity of more than one million fibre kilometres, Yangtze Optics Africa Cable will play a significant role in enabling South Africa’s development of a sustainable broadband future. This is especially important, given the shortfall with regard to current and envisaged demand from new Fibre to the Home (FTTH) project announcements and cellular operators’ migration to 4G and LTE services versus supply,” says Viljoen.
The demand for optical fibre cable products, specifically for FTTH undertakings, significantly outstrips local availability.
“Local manufacturing will be critical in increasing the number of players in this space and in turn bringing down local costs,” said Viljoen.
The new manufacturing facility is expected to create approximately 150 new jobs. High-level technical skills development will be at the forefront of the company’s skills development programme and a number of employees will be identified for specific skills transfer initiatives, including opportunities to travel to China to gain greater knowledge about the manufacturing of optical fibre cable.
Speaking at the event, MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Mr. Michael Mabuyakhulu, welcomed the decision by Yangtze Optics Africa Cable (YOAC) to establish a manufacturing plant at Dube TradePort, said the investment has given the province’s vision of taking its internet connectivity to the next level a shot in the arm.
“This R150m fibre optic investment by Yangtze Optics Africa demonstrates the massive growth potential within KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa as a whole as we gear up to meet our goal of ensuring universal internet access; as KwaZulu-Natal, we have already we committed ourselves to accelerating access to broadband connectivity across the province,” said Mabuyakhulu.
“Since last year we have rolled out over 14 000 kilometres fibre optic cable, which currently connects every hospital in the province including 119 clinics and 1 624 schools. In addition to this, we have initiated another project that seeks to establish Wi-Fi hotspots in strategic areas across the province.”
The optical fibre cable manufacturing facility is scheduled for completion in October 2016 and the recruitment and training of key technical staff is set to commence in September this year. The 15000m2 manufacturing facility is expected to be fully operational by January 2017.