MetroFibre Networx, a South African company which provides uncapped household and enterprise fibre network coverage, has secured R5 billion (~$297 million) in debt financing from Standard Bank to expand its fibre-optic data network rollout across the country.
The financing, according to Standard Bank, will be used to expand MetroFibre’s connectivity into homes and businesses in under-serviced communities across the country and is set to contribute to increasing reach by an additional 500,000 households across South Africa by 2025.
Speaking on the financing, Nishela Ramgoolam, executive for Structured Capital at Standard Bank corporate and investment banking, mentioned that an initiative like the one MetroFibre Network is working on empowers South Africans through digital inclusion to foster meaningful social impact.
“This timely deal with a proudly South African digital infrastructure business supports our mission of driving positive, sustainable and truly embedded technological growth across the continent, and developing digital innovations that matter,” she added.
For MetroFibre Network, CFO Wayne Edwards mentioned that “Our next era of growth will be defined by bringing greater access to reliable telecommunications to the majority of citizens, with fibre connectivity playing an increasingly vital role in driving economic growth, increasing access to education, and providing a myriad of social benefits.”
Internet connectivity in South Africa is in high demand, and there is high competition for providers to provide fibre-optic connectivity for both consumers and enterprises. MetroFibre Networx ranks among the top three fibre network operators in South Africa with its open-access network currently passing over 350 000 homes in six provinces.
Telkom, a competitor of MetroFibre Networx, reported that its national fibre network reached 165,900 km which compares to 163,800 km by March 2019. It also reported that it had reached 455,553 fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) homes in March 2020, a 5.8% increase compared to 430,659 homes passed by March 2019. Telkom had 47,179 fibre-to-the-business (FTTB) connections in March 2020, a 25.9% increase compared to 37,476 in March 2019.