Telkom has upped its budget for the 2010 Fifa World Cup finals to R900 million. The money is being spent on augmenting the national network provider’s next-generation network (NGN), which will reach all 10 stadiums for the tournament.

“R900 million is the guiding budget we gave government when we were approached to provide the telecommunications infrastructure,” says Telkom multinational accounts group executive Thami Magazi. He adds that government and Telkom contributed to the expenditure.

The budget is going towards providing an end-to-end service and performance management, dual functioning lines that will offer 20GBps live and 20GBps redundancy, and a network that is 99.99% available with no single point of failure.

Magazi says the network will comprise of a wide area network between the international broadcasting centre and the stadiums; and then on a smaller scale each stadium will have its own local area network.

Sponsorship deal

Telkom will also contribute R225 million to the World Cup as a national supporter. A national supporter is a tier three sponsorship that grants Telkom a package of advertising, promotional and marketing rights that are exercisable within SA.

Magazi says Telkom wants to show Fifa its commitment to growing soccer in the country. “We already sponsor the Telkom Charity Cup and the Telkom Knockout Cup which starts this coming month,” he adds.

Telkom’s deal with Fifa requires the company to provide the soccer federation with fixed-line network infrastructure to support the broadcast of the World Cup which will be handed over in February 2010.

Countdown to 04/09

Telkom says it will be ready to hand over the network to Fifa next April for the Fifa Confederations Cup (FCC) taking place in July. Magazi says he is comfortable Telkom will deliver adequate connectivity on time.

Magazi says fibre-optic cables are sitting at the perimeters of the four designated stadiums for the FCC and are waiting for the communications rooms to be completed before connecting them. Coca-Cola Park, in Johannesburg; Loftus Versfeld, in Pretoria; Royal Bafokeng, in Rustenburg; and Free State Stadium, in Bloemfontein, will be used during next year’s FCC, which is seen as a preview for the World Cup.

Leisel Ramjoo, Telkom’s executive for network centre operations, says the national operator will treat the FCC as if it were the World Cup. “The network will be run as it will be during 2010 tournament, yet we will take the FCC as an opportunity to learn and test our systems,” she says.

DATED: 5th November 2008