Octotel is Cape Town’s largest Open Access fibre network, serving nearly 300,000 homes and businesses, and connecting close to 100,000 customers. Founded in 2016, its open access network now has more than 16,000km of fibre optic cable in the ground across the Western Cape, and more than 60 of South Africa’s leading Internet Service Providers selling connectivity on its infrastructure. Actis acquired the business in late 2020.
Value creation at Octotel is now focused on four key aspects: accelerating the network rollout, developing and implementing a low-cost model to expand the market to lower income groups, driving take-up rates in already serviced areas and further monetising the network. Playing a role in the consolidation of the sector also offers an interesting further lever to drive incremental value. Octotel is tracking well ahead of plan both in terms of homes passed and new customers.
As an example of the activity that is being undertaken, the company has begun to pilot a new pre-paid model, and is targeting a number of lower income areas in the Western Cape to deploy fibre. According to the World Bank, high speed internet access is a powerful tool for the delivery of essential services including education and healthcare, offers greater opportunities for women’s empowerment and environmental sustainability, and contributes to higher levels of government transparency. The pilot will allow Octotel to use learnings from the implementation as the basis to accelerate the firm’s wider lower income rollout.
Delivery of such Information and Communications Technology infrastructure will help promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and catalyse economic development by supporting growth in the sector. Meanwhile a number of permanent employment opportunities have been created in the country thanks to the progress Octotel has made in rolling out its strategy.
Octotel is a high quality, high growth business with a strong market position in the Western Cape. We have also ensured that the network quality, uptime, and value for money offering is superior to other providers, improving the overall experience for Octotel customers.
Other initiatives have also taken place to support the communities in which the company operates. For example, Octotel has ensured greater access to the internet for children and students by improving connectivity in support of local educational needs. The company currently installs a free 1000mbps fibre connection to every registered primary and high school that it passes. Connectivity has now been provided to more than 120 schools – more than triple the number at the beginning of Actis’ investment. These connections will provide internet access on premises for more than 50,000 students.
As a result of our investment, Octotel is a high quality, high growth business with a strong market position in the Western Cape. We have also ensured that the network quality, uptime, and value for money offering is superior to other providers, improving the overall experience for Octotel customers.