Breaking news: Registration for fibre is open! :D

 

Frogfoot selected as fibre internet service provider

After the submissions have been received through the RFP process we appointed Frogfoot to provide fibre services for the Lynnwood Fibre Initiative (now covering a large part of Pretoria East). The RFP process had submissions from Dark Fibre Africa, Fibrehoods, Frogfoot, Link Africa, Telkom Wholesale (Openserve) Vodacom and Vumatel. The competition was tough, however after our evaluation process through a scored weighted matrix Frogfoot was the clear winner with a score of 93%. Second place received a score of 86% while third place scored 67%. Due to the close scores of second place with first, we did a manual sanity check and Frogfoot still came out on top.

If you are interested in the details of the evaluation process, you can find the LFI report here, and all the supporting documentation, submitted proposals, calculation tables and other documents in progress (such as the memorandum of understanding) here.

 

Actions you can take

The survey takes less than 2 minutes to complete. This is all you have to do to support the initiative. :-).

Some residents have reported problems with the survey buttons on this page. If you are experiencing dead links, or unresponsive buttons please try this link. Alternatively, please copy and paste this shortened URL into your address bar: https://goo.gl/iayPJt

 

To reach our goals the Lynnwood Fibre Initiative Followed a process:

  1. Spread the message among the community.
  2. Ask residents to take a survey to gauge the level of interest in the area (https://goo.gl/iayPJt).
  3. Select a fibre provider through a fair and open RFP process.
  4. The fibre provider takes things forward with the roll out and infrastructure installation.

 

 5 reasons to support the Lynnwood Fibre Initiative

  • Increased security: fibre allows for the use of very cost effective CCTV monitoring in the suburb and gated communities, deterring thieves and allowing for quick incident detection and response times.
  • Free internet for schools: fibre providers can provide free and very fast internet to schools, increasing learning effectiveness and helping them deliver an education more relevant to the future.
  • Increased property value: Studies have shown that suburbs with fibre saw an increase of up to 8% in property value.
  • Less expensive: Fibre internet is less expensive than ADSL, 3G & LTE, faster, more reliable, more stable, and it is the future of internet connectivity.
  • It is easy & safe: All it takes is the completion of a short survey. All the difficult questions are optional. Showing interest is non-committal, so there is nothing to lose, zero risk.
 

Help us spread the word. Please share with our fellow Lynnwood (and surrounding areas') residents!

 

Fibre To The Home (FTTH) Explained

 

Fibre internet uses the latest technology to deliver the world's fastest internet at affordable prices.

Next Generation

Fibre is the next generation of internet connectivity. It utilises thin inexpensive glass (or plastic) strands that carry data signals in the form of pulses of light. Fibre is immune to electromagnetic interference and works over very long distances.

Amazingly fast

Fibre Speeds in South Africa can reach up to 1 Gbps. It is 25x faster than the fastest VADSL speed, and 250x faster than the average ADSL speed. Even better, you achieve full speeds over your line during all 24 hours of the day. Don't consider yourself a speed freak? Don't worry, there is an option for everyone.

Affordable

Prices start from R200 p/m for a 4 Mbps line with 20 GB of data. This is 30% less expensive than similar 3G and ADSL options. There are no restrictions on when you can use your data (forget night surfer - it's obsolete), or what you can use your data on (slowing down "low" priority data by your ISP is a thing of the past).

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Open Network

Open network means more choice, more control, less cost, and no duplication. Any ISP can deliver service on the network, and we benefit from their competition. You can easily choose between speed, data, and ISPs at an instant's notice. Once the fibre is installed, there is no need to ever lay a network again. Fibre is future proof, and an open network guarantees access to any service provider.

Entertainment

Stream media to your TV over the internet, in full HD quality. Services such as Netflix, Show Max, Vidi and Front Row allow you to watch your favorite series and movies on demand, with thousands of titles at your fingertips. This means you can watch your shows when you want, pause, rewind, and watch again at your own leisure. Enjoy faster web surfing, faster downloads, better quality YouTube videos, and crystal clear Skype calls.

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Property Value

The latest research shows that fibre to the home can increase the value of your home by up to 8%. Homes in areas with high quality fibre are in greater demand, and these homes are in short supply. The average house in Lynnwood is valued at more than R 3 Million. Even a just a 1% increase in property value would pay for a 100 Mbps fibre line with a 200 GB data cap for more than TWO AND A HALF YEARS!

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Community & Home Security

A Fibre network in the Lynnwood community allows for increased security. The Fibre network could connect CCTV cameras within our community. These cameras could focus on the entrances and exits of the community, as well as other high risk areas (such as parks and open areas of land). Your home security camera could be monitored from anywhere in the world, to make sure everything is still in order while you are away.

Education

 With always on, high speed internet, your child's education is within your control. With all the resources available on-line these days, you can ensure education is maximised. Websites such as Khan Academy provides classes and tests from Primary school to university level on all the important subjects. Struggling with maths? There are extra maths classes right on the other side of the screen. Even adults are never too young to learn about a new topic, and Coursera has a course for everyone. With Fibre internet there is no need to hold back on internet access, and no need to hold back on education.

Additional Services

Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) does for your phone, what digital cameras did to film cameras. VOIP converts your phone to a digital device, greatly improving voice quality while at the same time cutting costs.
Home automation and smart metering moves your house into the 21st century. With always on internet you can control and monitor your home from work, the coffee shop, or even while on vacation.

The Lynnwood Fibre Initiative is a Community Effort

 

The Lynnwood Fibre Initiative (LFI) is driven by the Lynnwood Community. The people on the ground, doing the work, spreading the message, informing the Lynnwood community, liaising with the fibre providers, are all your fellow Lynnwood community members (one of us could be your neighbour). The effort is not for any financial gain by any Lynnwood Fibre Initiative member, their direct or extended family, a friend, or even a friend of a friend. All websites, printing and time is donated by the Lynnwood Fibre Initiative members, from their own pockets.

The Lynnwood Fibre Initiative Logo is a merger between the beautiful big trees common in the Lynnwood community, and an electronic circuit board design. The circles represent the homes within Lynnwood, and the electronic circuit paths in the shape of a tree, connects all the homes with a fast internet connection through the branches all the way to the trunk. The trunk represents the Lynnwood community's connection to the internet and the rest of the world.

The Lynnwood Fibre Initiative Logo is a merger between the beautiful big trees common in the Lynnwood community, and an electronic circuit board design. The circles represent the homes within Lynnwood, and the electronic circuit paths in the shape of a tree, connects all the homes with a fast internet connection through the branches all the way to the trunk. The trunk represents the Lynnwood community's connection to the internet and the rest of the world.

As the Lynnwood Fibre Initiative we want what is best for Lynnwood, because we are Lynnwood.

Please support us by completing the survey. The data from the survey is our most powerful tool to attract fibre providers and reach the goal of a fibre connected Lynnwood.

The survey takes less than 2 minutes to complete.

 

Fibre is the future of the internet

 

It may sound like salesmen talk, but it is true. Every technology is moving to include internet connectivity, and for this the demands on your internet line speed and data usage will sky-rocket.

Fibre vs ADSL

ADSL technology is physically limited by the electromagnetic propagation properties of a copper wire. As you increase the speed, the distance over which you can obtain that speed gets shorter and shorter, up to the point where it is impractical to use. ADSL is only available from Telkom, and runs on Telkom's congested network. During busy times line speeds drop, because there are too many people trying to use the same connection going out from the community to the regional network.

Fibre vs Wireless

Wireless technology such as 3G, HSDPA, and LTE is limited by the electromagnetic propagation properties of air. It has similar problems to copper, with the added problem of limited spectrum availability. The air is a shared resource, and the more people use it, the slower it gets. The solution is to create more base stations, covering smaller areas, and shortening the distance between the tower and the receiver.

Both of ADSL and wireless solutions already utilise fibre connections to the distribution boxes and base stations. As the distances from our homes to these distributions boxes and base stations become shorter and shorter, so does the fibre connections come closer and closer to our homes. We are at the point where it makes sense to simply lay the fibre connection right to your doorstep.

Community Fibre vs Telkom Fibre

Why don't we just wait for Telkom Fibre? It is true that they are busy with a roll-out in the big cities, and at some point that fibre roll-out will reach us. However here is the biggest reason why we as a community should organise our own fibre: Telkom's network is congested because they use large connection ratios. A connection ratio is basically how many people share the same line onto the national network, and on Telkom's network this is just too many. People that have Telkom fibre complain that you do not get the full speed advertised, Telkom claims it is a best effort service, and ISP's (for e.g. Web Africa) warn you that you cannot expect the advertised speeds. On top of that, Telkom is also more expensive. Because they are a de-facto monopoly they can ask what they want. Telkom provides Telkom grade support & services, I don't have to say more on that topic. If you decide you want Telkom fibre, waiting times are currently in the range of 2 months, while community fibre can be activated on the very same day. Finally, Telkom's network is not an open network. When we get our own fibre, it will be an open network, allowing any company to provide voice, digital TV, community CCTV and any other service of the future over this same network, to the benefit of the community. On Telkom's closed network, only Telkom can provide those services, and you are stuck without choice and without competition, limited to what they want to offer, and as a result you will pay more for less.

Community fibre open to all service providers. Community fibre is fast during peak and of-peak hours. Community fibre is cheap, less expensive than ADSL, less expensive than 3G. Community fibre is supported, reliable, and maintained.

Please show your support for The Lynnwood Fibre Initiative by completing the survey.

 

The survey takes less than 2 minutes to complete.

Can we trust Fibre technology?

Fibre is the next generation of internet connectivity for homes and businesses. At the same time, it is a tried and tested technology. This sounds like two conflicting statements, however fibre has been around for a very long time. The only difference is that it has only recently become affordable for home use. Fibre internet has connected the continents through undersea cables for decades. Fibre was developed in the 1970s, and South-Africa received its first undersea fibre connection in the 1990s. When you use a cellphone tower, your singal is carried over the air to the cellphone tower, and from there on it runs on a fibre connection. Similarly when you use ADSL or your telephone line, the signal is carried over a copper cable to the nearest distribution box, and from there it runs on a fibre connection. When you go for a walk in Lynnwood there is a high probability that you are stepping over a fibre cable somewhere on your route. Fibre is what the entire internet is based on. If you access any website, your signal will travel over fibre for the majority of the route.

Why is Fibre better?

So fibre is a safe technology, but why do we need it? The answer to that problem lies in what is called the "last mile". Currently the last mile of internet connectivity is either through the air or over copper cables depending on what type of internet you have. The main drawback of air is that it is a shared resource. If you connect to the base station, you expect a certain speed. However the more people connect, the more people have to share that same air, and the slower your connection gets. If you have wireless you will know it gets slower in peak times (7am - 9pm approx.) and you will know that it gets much faster when you use it late at night or very early in the morning. With fibre you do not share your connection. Every house has its own dedicated fibre connection all for itself. With ADSL the shared resource is not as much of a problem. However, on Telkom networks the connection ratios are quite poor, so similar problems are observed during peak times. Connection ratios are how many people with a certain line speed share that line speed out of the neighbourhood. With ADSL the fact is that they connect too many people on the same distribution box, forcing users to share a connection onto the bigger network.

With both air and copper, there are problems that fibre do not experience. Copper and air transmissions attenuate much faster than over fibre. This means you can be much futher away from a distribution box when utilising fibre. Fibre is also immune to weather conditions, and electromagnetic interference. Fibre does not conduct electricity, so lightning will not affect your internet connection. Fibre signals run over a cable, unlike with wireless where the signal has to travel through the rain, reducing performance.

Why is Fibre cheaper?

Fibre is cheaper because of a few reasons. The first reason is that you can skip telkom. Telkom Fibre is not cheaper, open fibre is. Open fibre is an area where there is a lot of competition, so prices are as low as they can be, while service is as good as it can be. Current open fibre offerings beat the Telkom equivalent hands down on all fronts. The second reason is that you go from fibre, onto fibre. There is no costly last mile equipment. You dont have to convert your digital signal from your computer to a signal that runs over the air or copper, which is then converted to a signal that runs over fibre. All that equipment costs a lot of money to install and maintain, and with fibre you don't use it. Your signal is converted to a fibre signal directly. The third reason fibre is cheaper is because fibre itself is cheap. It is made from glass or plastic, and that piece of glass has the potential to carry huge amounts of data. No one would steal a fibre cable because it is so cheap. You cannot melt it and sell it for scrap, no one will buy a blob of glass because it is worthless.

How does fibre compare?

Below is a graph showing the current best wireless and ADSL technology available to us. I've searched for the cheapest Wirelss and ADSL deals, for a given speed and data use. So this is the best case ADSL and Wireless compared with an average Fibre offering. In other words this comparison is biased against Fibre in favour of ADSL and Wirless. Fibre still comes out on top. On this graph, lower on the y-axis (vertical, up-down) and to the right on the x-asix (horizontal, left-right) is better. Fibre is in red, at the bottom. The only time fibre is on top, is when the speed is so fast you won't know what to do with it (25x faster than the fastest ADSL, only 1.5x to 2.5x more expensive).

Cellular / Wireless

I have not included LTE, as far as I know LTE is not available in Lynnwood. Wireless service providers (Telkom Mobile, Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, RSA web, Axxess, etc.) offer 3G speeds, which is heavily dependent on your location, your signal strength and the time of day. If you are lucky you can get very fast speeds, most individuals get in the order of 6-7 Mbps. Wireless prices are only competitive if you use less than 5 GB a month (R200), otherwise fibre is the better option with a similarly priced package that provides 20 GB per month at 4 Mbps without any of the drawbacks of a wireless connection.

ADSL

Fibre is less expensive than ADSL, and it provides a better connection. Fibre gives higher speeds and more data as a similarly priced ADSL package. On this graph there are two uncapped solutions. The one is shaped and the other is unshaped. It appears if ADSL is competitive if you look at the shaped uncapped ADSL offerings. However shaped ADSL is very of very poor quality during times of peak demand (daytime). Shaping means your line is slowed down during periods when the network is moderately to heavily used. Your data is slowed down in favour of others who is on unshaped packages. ISPs decide which things to slow down based on the type of traffic. For example downloads, streaming video, music, skype calls, gaming etc. is considered low priority during peak hours. Shaped internet is often frustrating to use. The price of a shaped "uncapped" package hints at its actual value as can be seen from the graph below. A 4 Mbps line with a shaped uncapped account is similar in value to a 4 Mbps account capped at 100 GB. For more in depth details on ADSL ISP throttling, and shaping on uncapped accounts, read here. Don't let the buzzwords fool you. With fibre you can get uncapped & unshaped (no slow downs, no data prioritisation by the ISP, just full speed internet) at the same price a 4 Mbps ADSL shaped uncapped account would cost. Fibre beats ADSL hands down in all departments.

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A short and temporary period of discomfort for a big long term benefit

 

To get the fibre to our homes, it has to be laid in the ground. This process is slightly different depending on the layout of the community, the infrastructure available, and the fibre provider's skills. For the ideal case, storm water pipes in the area can be used. The worst case scenario is trenching, which results in digging holes in the ground to lay pipes that can carry the fibre cables. Even in this worst case scenario, the fibre providers aim to cause minimal disturbance in the community, and they restore the areas where trenching has taken place to the same condition or better. Trenching is the biggest barrier to fibre uptake, so the fibre providers are very sensitive to this issue, and they take every precaution, and carry every risk themselves to make it go as smooth as possible. However there can be no benefit without an initial investment, and the fibre providers carry all the costs associated with this process.

Trenching may sound bad, we know no one wants their driveway dug up. When we look at all the available options, this option is by far the best in the long run. Fibre providers guarantee their work for up to a year after they complete the trenching, so if any sagging or damage results from the trenching after installation they will fix it at their own cost. Trenching heals over time, while fiber over poles (areal fibre) can be difficult to access, gets damaged easier and more frequently, and can start to look untidy after a while (just take a look at the existing telkom poles in your yard). This increases the cost to the fibre provider, which increases the cost to the community. Trenching is a one time investment in the community, for which we will reap the benefits for many years to come.