Q: Are there any negative health effects from constant exposure to fibre?
A: Fibre is safer than your cellphone, telephone line, and your WiFi router. The main reason for this is that fibre does not make use of electromagnetic (EM) energy to transmit signals, instead it utilizes light to transmit signals. The light is similar to that in a laser pointer people use when delivering a presentation. As with anything in life, there are levels at which things are safe, and levels at which things become unsafe. With laser light there is also a threshold where above damage can be caused to one's eyes. However the laser used for fibre is of low enough power not to pose any real danger. It is still advised however not to stare directly into the sharp en of the cable at close range as the light transmitted over the cable may not be in the visible range, providing no visual indication that there are signals traveling over it. With regards to electromagnetic (EM) energy, there have been no conclusive evidence that there are any negative health effects. The main reason for this is that EM energy at the frequencies used for everyday things (such as your cellphone, and microwave) are in the range where non ionizing radiation takes place. Don't let the word radiation scare you, it simply means emissions of EM waves. Non ionizing radiation heats a surface it comes into contact with, while ionizing radiation can alter the structure of atoms or molecules (x-rays are an example of ionizing radiation). This field of study is closely monitored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineering (IEEE). The WHO have analized over 25000 studies over more than 30 years and they concluded that current evidence does not confirm the existence of any health consequences from exposure to low level EM fields. For more information visit these websites: 1. WHO about EM, 2. WHO EM and public health, 3. WHO what is EM, 4. Science based medicine health effects of EM.
Q: When will fibre arrive?
A: This depends on many variables at each step of the process. The process is as follows. We first survey for interest. Personally I'm hoping this will complete between end October or end November for Lynnwood (area 1). The surrounding areas will require more time to reach the support levels we require (areas 2-10). After we have enough interest we will generate a request for proposal (RFP) and send that out to the fibre providers. This can be written before the survey deadline, with the final data thrown in when we send it out. We will then give them around a month to come up with a proposal (depending where the deadline falls e.g. new year, we may extend it a little). As soon as all the proposals are in or the deadline is reached we will evaluate them and choose a fibre provider that meets our requirements. They will then execute their plan with their roll-out process. I suspect this will take 3-4 months depending on the approach followed. So in short, hopefully April next year. Whatever happens, I will keep you in the loop through the newsletter and this website every step of the way.
Q: What duration is the fibre contract?
A: This depends entirely on the fibre provider that we select as a community. Typically fibre providers provide three options to choose from. They typically trade between contract length and installation & fibre modem cost. Most fibre providers offer contract lengths from 2 years, all the way down to no contract. For a 2 year contract the installation & fibre modem cost is at a minimum (often R0), while at the other end of the spectrum, when a no contract option is chosen there is a full installation & fibre modem cost charged. Some offer 1 year contracts with a fibre modem & instillation cost half way between these two extremes.
Q: What is your role from a financial point of view, i.e. will you make money out of this?
A: I make no money from this, I have no future plan to make money from this, and I'm actually out of pocket close to R10k at this point in time through my efforts to spread the message. I'm enthusiastic about the technology, I know the power it holds, I know what it can do for our community and that is why I'm driving this. No other reason.
Q: Will you tender for fibre installers and or supplier services and will that be a transparent process?
A: We will generate a RFP to which fibre providers will tender. I will make this an open process yes, all the details will be uploaded on the website (on the progress tab) as well as distributed in the weekly newsletter I send out.
Q: The fibre connection looks very expensive compared to ADSL connections?
A: Fibre is less expensive than ADSL when comparing speeds & data usage, or even when comparing slower speeds and less data usage. That is a fact. The main reason ADSL may look less expensive is when you do not look at the entire package. The ADSL service consists of 3 components. They are the voice line rental, the ADSL line service, and the ISP. The voice line is required because we have Telkom as a monopoly. The ADSL line service determines your ADSL speed (e.g. 4 Mbps), and the ISP determines how much data you have to use. Fibre on the other hand is a single service which includes a line speed and data. If you still want a fixed voice service in your home, fibre can also carry VOIP which is typically cheaper, and of much higher quality than fixed analogue voice services.
Q: I currently have an ADSL subscription and line rental with company X, what of these services can I cancel if I switch to fibre?
A: All of them.
Q: Are you going to dig up my garden?
A: This depends on the fibre provider selected at the end of the process and what techniques they will utilize to bring the fibre to the homes. Some use aerial fibre that runs on the existing poles in the area, others utilize the storm-water system. However trenching (digging up the garden) is the best option for long term investment.
Q: Do you still need a Telkom line when subscribing for fibre?
A: Short answer: you don't need it! Long answer: I would recommend you get rid of the Telkom line. Copper is old and it is just going to get older. You get all of your internet over the fibre line (this is a new connection to your home). For voice you may decide to keep the old copper telephone line, however on fibre there are Voice Over IP (VOIP) options that uses the digital line for voice. This is typically less expensive, and of a much higher quality than your Telkom line.
Q: How does it work that you can skip Telkom all together?
A: Telkom has had a monopoly for many years, however they only serve as the middle man between your home and the internet connections coming into the country. After their monopoly was broken, it became possible for anyone to deliver a service to you and connect to that internet connection coming into the country.
Q: Is the fibre coming straight into my home or do I still need a copper wire?
A: With this project we are driving fibre to the home (FTTH). A glass strand will be coming out of your wall within your home. The only copper will be if you choose to connect your fibre modem inside your house to another device with an Ethernet cable (which is still 100% fine). Most Ethernet cables these days support 1 Gbps and more with cable lengths up to 100 meters, so you do not have to worry about that piece of copper degrading your performance.
Q: The survey only mentions Lynnwood, am I included in your coverage area?
A: If your property falls within the coverage map, then you are in the plan to receive fibre coverage. Some parts of Meno Park fall within our area that we allocated to Lynnwood, and some of the other areas are not on the same boundaries as the suburbs. This was chosen so that the areas can be more easily managed.
Q: Which areas of Lynnwood will be covered?
A: We aim to get fibre for the entire Lynnwood and its surrounding areas. See the planned coverage map for the latest information. If you reside within this area, or close to this area please complete the survey as we might expand the coverage (again!) in the future.
Q: How can I contribute to the community effort?
A: First complete the survey (there is a link at the top right corner of this page). We need as many people as possible to provide feedback. Secondly we need people spreading the message. If you can spread the message within your church, your school, your gated community, or even your street it will help is immensely. We also need a dedicated person to help with the effort to the South of Lynnwood Road.
Q: I'm not part of Lynnwood, but I would like to get my community on board with fibre, can you assist?
A: Yes! Contact us and we can brainstorm with you on how to include your community within this effort. At the very least I can share the survey, my experience on what works and what does not, and the website materials with you.
Q: Will this community based model work?
A: Yes, and it has been proven already. Parkhurst in Johannesburg pioneered the process (source), and they have successfully had fibre proved to them (source). There are now other suburbs throughout South-Africa following the same model to great success (e.g. see Constantia Fibre in CPT).
Q: Who is in charge of this community effort?
A: My name is Jurgen Strydom. I'm an electronic engineer, working at the CSIR, with approximately 6 years of experience. My wife and I have searched for a home to stay for quite some time and we fell in love with the Lynnwood area. We found an amazing house and moved into Lynnwood in August 2015. I'm 30 years old, and have been on the internet since the early days when you had to connect with a 33.3k dial up modem. I have always been an internet enthusiast (I built my first website in my early high school years), and a good internet connection is very important to me because I know how valuable it is to so many areas of our modern lives. I closely follow the technological pulse within South-Africa, and I have seen the huge benefits fibre internet bring to those suburbs who have driven it themselves through their communities. I hope to bring those same benefits to my new community for the benefit of each and every one of us. If you have any questions please contact me directly at email@example.com, my inbox is always open :-).