Patrick van Heerden, MD VH Fibre

Patrick van Heerden, MD VH Fibre

VH Fibre Optics (Pty) Ltd, Prysmian’ s value added re-seller based in South Africa, was established in 2008. They have been actively marketing Prysmian’ s retractable cable solutions for the past 4 years.

In that time Verticasaxs has been established as the best-suited passive fibre solution for MDUs (Multi Dwelling Units) and shopping malls. In fact, over 40 shopping malls have been reticulated using the Verticasa Solution.


In June 2014, Niel Schoeman (CEO of Vumatel) and Patrick van Heerden (MD VH Fibre) met in Amsterdam to explore how the Retractanetxs solution was being rolled out there. “We soon discovered that this was a solution that would suit the requirements of Vumatel,” says Patrick van Heerden. “Being a privately funded startup there was very little red tape that could have delayed any decision making”. In July 2014, VH Fibre and Vumatel workshopped the details of exactly how they would roll out the first suburb, Parkhurst, of 2,000 homes. Since then Vumatel has passed 17 500 homes with an aggressive plan of 100.000 homes over the next year. “They have really awakened the industry with many other operators and fibre providers realising that they would miss the prime land grab if they did not move fast”.


250x average speed

Homes and complexes/MDUs are fully covered by the network, which offers internet connections up to 250 times faster than South Africa's average broadband speed. The Verticasaxs system has been installed for all MDU buildings along the route. Spare ESFU modules within the Retractanetxs cables allow for the quick and cost effective connections of CCTV camera’s, Small Cells, WiFi access points and traffic monitoring along the paths of the network.


Niel Schoeman adds: “We needed an FTTH solution that was cost effective and which simplified the rollout. Prysmian’s Retractanetxs solution showed significant savings when compared to conventional blown fibre. With the sudden boom in the FTTH industry in South Africa, skilled resources are limited. Retractanetxs has filled this gap by simplifying the installation process as well as reducing the time to install. Prysmian offered us a complete and tested solution in the form of Retractanetxs and Verticasaxs. Both the cable and associated connectivity provides us with a solution that meets our requirements. With VH Fibre Optics’ (Prysmian’s local distributor in SA) value added services such as design, on-site technical support and contractor training, we were able to successfully implement the new solutions and have to date passed 17,500 homes.”


Recently VH Fibre has deployed aerial Retractanet with great success. The cable has been installed both in mid-block and street verge deployments. Contractors are now able to install 1200m per day with an eight-person team. The aerial Retractanetxs is installed as the distribution network tying into existing back bone fibres or newly installed. An aerial drop tube with a draw wire is then installed from the closest pole where a tapping box has been installed over the Retractanet xs cable. The ESFU is then cut at a tapping box further down the cable, extracted, crimped onto the drawstring and installed into the home and terminated. Extraction has been simple, with installers favouring the Retractanet drops over conventional fibre drops.


Retractanetxs has been deployed successfully directly buried, aerial and into existing sleeves in leafy suburbs, gated communities and business parks. Verticasa installed into MDU’s, hospitals and shopping malls with great success. These solutions have set the standard for FTTx deployments in South Africa.


Tech Talk: VH Fibre Optics discusses Retractanetxs and Verticasaxs

Patrick van Heerden Managing Director of VH Fibre Optics, started off as a splicing technician in the industry 18 years ago and has been working with Prysmian for some 13 years. VH Fibre Optics introduced Prysmian Verticasa and Retractanet into the South African market about four years ago. These products were used extensively in the recent FTTx rollout projects.”

Based on homes passed, aerial Retractanet worked out at 5% cheaper and Retractanet worked out about 10% cheaper at 50% homes connected. This saving increase (almost double the saving) when comparing Direct Buried Retractanet to a Blown Fibre/Cable system. Drops have proven to be very simple, with the contractors preferring Retractanet over conventional aerial and direct buried/ducted drops. In an industry that is accelerating at an extreme pace, you need a robust fibre solution that allows fast, easy rollout, Retractanet/Verticasa offers all that, and to top it, a much lower TCO.”

“The great benefit in dealing with Prysmian, is that we’re using Prysmian Fibre in Prysmian Cable paired with Prysmian Connectivity. They ensure that all connectivity components are compatible with the cabling technology (such as Verticasa and Retractanet), tested and proven. They develop and manufacture the connectivity required in-house. So you are getting a complete system that works together, not just components that you need to pare up with other components to complete a solution.”