How do we build fibre?
Herotel is different from other operators in that we install our fibre on ‘telephone poles’ above the ground, only going underground when we construct our feeder network or cross the road. Every suburb has an allocated space between homes, typically at the back of a property, that has been reserved for critical services such as sewage, power and telecommunications. Unless there is a specifically promulgated legal restriction, our Electronic Communications Network (ECN) licence allows us to build our network here, at the back of properties on wooden “telephone” poles.
A single-pole can in most cases provide fibre to 3-4 households, which means that typically we need just a few poles per street. We build our networks with your cooperation and consent, taking great care to manage the aesthetics of your neighbourhood. By building this way we can do better maintenance of the network and keep providing high-quality internet at low prices.
For more information on how we build, please watch the following video.
We’re painting South Africa orange with our growing network! You will be happy to hear that we already operate out of over 46 local offices throughout South Africa, creating employment opportunities everywhere we go.
This is important because it means that our local teams live in your communities. We are your neighbours. We share the frustration of a bad internet connection. If the internet is down at your house that means it’s also down at the homes of our local employees. The buck stops with us, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
We take pride in the fact that we build the network ourselves and look after it from our local office. There are no middlemen, who serve no purpose except to add costs to your bill.
That way, we ensure that you get the best quality network, pay some of the lowest prices in South Africa and get the best possible service. Great Internet shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg!
We know residents have many questions, so we have captured some of the most commonly asked questions below for your perusal.
Q: Who is Herotel?
Herotel began its journey in 2014 by consolidating 33 independent internet companies that covered more than 500 small towns across South Africa.
These companies united around a common cause, a burning desire to bring world-class Internet to small towns and rural areas. Today, we have already built fibre to more than 100 000 homes and connect thousands more through our wireless internet products.
Q: Will Herotel employ locally?
Yes, we are committed to sourcing as much local labour as possible for the general civil work associated with building the feeder network, after which we will finish the project with our specialised telecommunications teams that mostly reside locally. We believe that it is very important to be close to our customers, which is why we will continue to serve the community out of our regional offices where we permanently employ local residents.
Q: What is the first step to building a fibre network?
The first step in building a fibre network is constructing a feeder network that will connect your town to the national fibre network, which needs to be trenched into the town. A feeder network can best be described as the fibre highway that runs through the centre of town, from which we create off-ramps into the suburbs that connects homes and small businesses. The feeder network and the road crossings are the only two aspects that we need to bury under the ground, the rest of the network is in the air.
Q: Is Herotel licensed to build and manage fibre networks?
Herotel is a licensed telecommunications company. These licences are issued by ICASA. Herotel holds both an ECNS and an ECS licence from ICASA, which are both required in order to legally build and sell telecommunications services.
Our ECN licence gives us the right of servitude to build the network in the mid-block in the absence of any restrictions promulgated in law. We must, and do, arrange access to these properties in a respectful manner. We will use this method to provide an affordable fibre network to your town. We consult with the homeowners to determine the optimal pole location, and poles will only be installed on an appointment basis. Herotel teams will engage with residents to arrange permission to access properties in order to plant poles.
Q: How does Herotel go about getting these “telephone” poles planted and what community engagement is undertaken?
Our teams will move through the suburbs engaging directly with residents, during which time they answer any questions or concerns that homeowners might have. Although we have a licence to build the network (ECN), we require and want to access the properties respectfully, and we look for like-minded residents who will willingly give us access to their property to speed up the process. Our team members are employed by Herotel and will be clearly identifiable with security tags and by the uniform and branded vehicles that they drive. The team will also arrange information sharing days in town.
Q: Do these “telephone” poles look like the old Telkom/Eskom poles?
No, they are much smaller and can easily be hidden in your backyard in the telecommunications servitude. They are rarely visible from the street.
Q: What does a fibre network do to property values?
Studies have shown that the presence of a fibre network increases property values over the long term. Access to high-speed broadband across the wider community will enable more citizens to enter the digital economy. The ability to run a business, entertain your family or learn from home is just around the corner. Herotel plans to assist communities to narrow the digital divide and to help your municipality deliver on the economic promises of the 4th industrial revolution (4IR).
Q: Can fibre make me sick?
No, there is no scientific evidence that fibre can make you sick. In the case of fibre, this is especially true as the data is transmitted as light signals within the fibre cable. Fibre cables do not emit radio waves.
Q: What is the difference between 5G and fibre?
They are very different technologies in how they connect you to the internet. 5G uses radio waves for sending and receiving data, which means that it is being broadcast over a distance and then received by radios. Fibre uses light to transmit data through fibre optic cables, which means that the connectivity stays within the cable and cannot transmit or broadcast outside of it. In short, fibre directly plugs you into the internet while 5G creates a broadcast zone that you connect to over the radio spectrum.
Q: Is there a difference between the fibre cables used under and above the ground?
No, it’s the exact same fibre cables that are used for both. We just choose to build them above the ground (when we build between homes), and not underneath it. It delivers the exact same speed and quality.
Q: Who should residents contact at Herotel if they have questions or concerns with the process, or if they would like to find out more about the fibre project or pricing?
Please contact the team here for further information.