This month, an innovative approach to digging trenches for fibreoptic cable will herald the beginning of a new phase in a broadband revolution that began in 2015.

That was the year the South African connectivity market was shaken up by a small new entrant called Vumatel, which won a contract to lay down fibre in the affluent suburb of Parkhurst in Johannesburg. Barely a fortnight later, Telkom declared that it would begin its own fibre installations in 20 suburbs, including Parkhurst. It was a classic example of the old giant being woken from its slumber by a young upstart.

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