Does the name i3 ring any bells? No wonder.
In brief – recently the i3 Group has messed up some town infrastructures in the UK, sold off its UK subsidiaries, been investigated by the Serious Fraud Office and wanted to score a deal with Australia and deploy fibre broadband there.
By the way – Australia said no thanks.
However, a company called i3 Africa (which is considered not to have links with the earlier-mentioned i3 Group) is planning to rollout a fibre optic 1 GB-capable network in South Africa, mainly in Durban, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein, Pretoria covering roughly 2.5 Million people.
In terms of time and costs – it has been estimated that it will take roughly 4-5 years to buld the infrastructure with costs of about £447m (R5bn) to £537m (R6bn).
i3 Africa has been reportedly financially backed by the National Empowerment Fund (NEF), non execs of which have also been connected to the broadband industry.
Although, as mentioned above, i3 Africa was not officially a part of i3 Group, nevertheless it was said that it had two subsidiaries H2O Networks and Fibrecity.
Additionally, i3 Africa said it intended to use i3 Group’s equipment, with the controversial firm taking a 15 per cent stake in the company.
The first city to be fibre-connected is set to be Durban.