Sunday, September 21, 2014

Vodacom rolls out Fibre to Business - FNB has Xbox One For You - Altech launches Node

Vodacom rolls out Fibre To The Business

Vodacom Business announced the launch of Fibre To The Business (FTTB) services in South Africa. The initial rollout phase of Vodacom’s new Broadband Connect Fibre service sees broadband connectivity of up to 100Mbit/s coming to selected business parks in Gauteng, Cape Town, and Durban. This new service means that businesses of all sizes that operate out of business parks will have access to high speed and high capacity data connections. This opens up a range of services to drive cost savings, improve efficiencies and increase competitiveness.

Broadband Connect Fibre uses the latest Passive Optical Network (PON) technology to give an unparalleled experience. With this new service, businesses will be able to access rich content experiences via the Internet that were previously only available to large corporate customers. These services include video collaboration, voice over internet protocol (VoIP), Hosted PBX, Office365, Cloud Backup and other data applications.

Since 2008, Vodacom has spent more than R2 billion investing in fibre transmission which connects its more than 10,000 cellular base stations and now forms the backbone of this new FTTB service.

“Most people don’t realise it, but underneath every mobile network is a high speed fixed network connecting the base stations. We’ve invested billions of rands in building our fibre optic network, meaning that we now have the critical mass to offer customers across South Africa access to the latest technology including FTTB,” said Vuyani Jarana, Chief Officer for Vodacom Business.

“Our new FTTB service paves the way for true cloud and other next generation services while opening the door to a new level of efficiency, mobility and cost savings,” added Jarana.

Vodacom Business’ Broadband Connect Fibre service provides SMEs with bundled uncapped internet access, a router and optional fixed-line VoIP which delivers as much as 30% savings on phone calls. Rapid deployment including the connecting and upgrading of fibre cables is part of the service, and all installation costs are covered by Vodacom. The plans, which are tailored to meet the needs of all sizes of business, offer a range of connection speeds from 5Mbit/s to 100Mbit/s.
Importantly, as part of its roll out plan, Vodacom will in the future be offering customers the option of installing additional equipment in their premises to, in effect, set up a dedicated mini mobile base station. This equipment, which uses the fibre connection to route cellphone traffic back into the network, will give the best possible mobile signal and eliminate any troublesome coverage spots in the office.
“A cornerstone of Vodacom’s Ready Business ethos is that our customers should have the fastest, most reliable connection,” says Jarana. “With the most extensive network across South Africa and proven reliability, we are positioned to offer world class broadband solutions that give SMEs and office park managers a clear business advantage.”

Discussing the rollout plans from here, Jarana said:

“We’re particularly excited about our acquisition of Neotel and what this will mean for the speed at which we can rollout broadband services. If given regulatory approval, we’ll be able to add Neotel’s 22,000 km of fibre to our existing network and then fast-track the provision of high speed connectivity not only for businesses but also for homes across South Africa. By doing this, we’ll be in the best possible position to support Government’s Broadband 2020 objectives.”

Jarana shared some additional insight into Vodacom Business’ FTTB strategy in an interview with Aki Anastasiou, visit to view the interview.

For more information on how to apply for Vodacom Broadband Connect Fibre and pricing information, visit

FNB opens pre-orders for the XBOX ONE

Qualifying FNB customers can now pre-order and secure the much anticipated XBOX ONE through FNB’s smart device offer.
The deal gives customers the choice between either the XBOX ONE console as a standalone deal or the XBOX ONE Kinect. Each deal includes one or more full length games, including FIFA 15 in the R399 per month offer. The inclusion of the games allow users to plug-and-play as soon as they receive the device, saving them the time and money of having to download the full game.
“Expanding our smart device range to include gaming consoles has proved to be popular, contributing to 5% of total devices sold over the last 12 months,” says Kartik Mistry, Head of FNB Smart Devices. 
“While our main motivation with the smart device offer is to provide the means for customers to bank digitally, we cannot deny the increasing move towards a connected lifestyle and home.”

Orders can be placed at or by calling 087 736 7270

Altech launches Node: A world-first in entertainment technology and smart home solutions

Allied Technologies Limited (Altech) announced the launch of Altech Node, the world’s first fully converged home gateway console, offering the latest in movie entertainment, TV series, sports and business content, Internet access, and wireless smart home solutions.
Altech Node gives immediate access to more than 700 hours of entertainment without any buffering, with 10% to 20% of movies and TV shows updated monthly as older content is replaced with the latest and greatest releases. And through Node compatible accessories, it creates a smart home environment that can be directly controlled from the television screen.
According to Craig Venter, Group Executive Altron TMT / Chief Executive Officer: Altech, Node is like a DVD store in your home.
“At any time viewers can choose from a selection of hundreds of blockbuster movies on transactional video on demand – TVOD, in full 1080p High Definition, and 400 recent movies on subscription video on demand – SVOD. And what is especially brilliant about the way we have set up the Node, is that the content is streamed, and regularly updated, via satellite to the Node’s internal 1TB hard drive, so viewers don’t pay for massive Internet downloads and can access content literally the moment they decide to view it, with no delays and no buffering.”
Node maintains a carousel library of content on its hard drive, the majority of which can be accessed as part of the monthly subscription fee of R299. Node incorporates a once-off device cost of R3 499, unless customers opt to purchase the Node over a 24-month period at approximately R190 per month, depending on the selected data bundle. Free installation is included in the cost. Added to this is the fact that customers are not tied into long term contracts.

The latest blockbuster movie releases can be viewed for R25 and enjoyed for unlimited viewing over a 48 hour period. With a wide range of subscription video-on-demand titles, including movies and series, customers will be spoilt for choice. Sports fans and followers of business news and current affairs can catch up on the latest developments through up-to-date highlights packages.
Node is also unique in that it is an instant e-commerce platform that allows users to buy data, airtime and pre-paid electricity, and pay for municipal and utility services such as Eskom or Telkom – all from the comfort of their home and without the use of a computer.
In addition to the Node’s entertainment capabilities is its smart TV and smart home functionality that enables users to download Android apps, access the Internet and email, and control home appliances using Node branded Smart Plugs.
“In today’s high security conscious world the wireless camera and motion sensor capabilities of the Node are a tremendous value-add. With just one or two clicks of a button on the Node’s remote control, you are able to view up to four Node video cameras wirelessly on your TV screen or via another connected access device such as an iPad or cell phone,” says Venter.
“Node is much more than video on demand. It is an entertainment hub, a streaming server, a Wi-Fi hotspot, an e-commerce platform, a home automation and energy management system, a home security system, and a telephone and videophone, all in one and completely integrated. It is the most sophisticated home gateway in the world and is a true reflection of Altech’s mission to provide its customers with value-added products, services and solutions through the convergence of Telecommunications, Multi-media and Information Technology,” adds Venter.
“Our advertising payoff line for Node is: ‘One day we’ll wonder what we ever did without it’. Inherent in that statement is the notion that nothing like it has gone before, and that’s because nothing has,” concludes Venter.
Available at: 
Altech Autopage Cellular, Cell C, Dion Wired, Game, HiFi Corporation, Hirsch’s, Incredible Connection, JetMart, Makro, Pick ‘n Pay Hyper and other leading retailers.
Other key features of the Node include:
*        Node’s YouTube functionality that allows viewers to set up their own video playlists using another device, such as a smartphone, and queuing them to play on their TV;
*        Node’s built-in media player, MyMedia, which allows content to be played off other devices, such as the Altech Node branded and packaged USB flash drive, which enables users to also add and view their favourite home videos and holiday photos on their TV.
*        Node’s wireless Internet functionality turns it into a Wi-Fi hotspot and allows for up to 5 devices – the TV, computer, smartphone and tablet – to be connected simultaneously to stream content to these devices. No more fighting over which movie or TV series to watch!
*        Users can download Android apps for use on the Node, such as Internet radio streaming. For the kids there is the added advantage of access to hundreds of games to keep them entertained for hours.
*        Node offers Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony, allowing for two handsets and almost free on-net calling. Users can also videoconference via the Node.
*        Node is a home automation and energy management device. Using ZigBee peripheral devices, users can control house lights and switch on appliances such as geysers, either via the TV or remotely with a smartphone.
*        Node is secure, with state-of-the art encryption for movie payments, e-commerce and interfacing with other devices.
*        Node is easy to install. Users can do it themselves, even with the most rudimentary technical skills, and install their own automation and security equipment. And Node comes standard with an 80cm satellite dish – the new standard for Africa.
*        Node is easy to use. It has no buttons on its front face but comes with a remote control with an interface on each side – one being a QWERTY keyboard. And its RF remote control means line-of-sight isn’t necessary when using it. Users can also turn their smartphones into remote controls. Node’s customisable carousel-style navigation layout is easy to master. It also features one HDMI out port, two HDMI in ports to switch multiple HDMI ports into your TV, and an Ethernet connector and Wi-Fi for connectivity.
*        Node is extremely cost effective to operate and should users utilise the YouTube function extensively and require more cellular data, they can immediately top up their data via the Altech Node. Cellular pre-paid airtime can also be purchased through the Node.
More information on the Altech Node can be found at: or visit Node on Twitter (@AltechNode); Facebook and YouTube.

 This edition by +Fred Felton 

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