More than 180 000 kilometers of fibre optic cables have been tested, activated and connected by Telkom/BCX over the past 3 months to assist the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) with the communications technologies required to capture, process and verify voting information in the 2021 Local Government Elections.
Stanley Vhulahani, the Lead Project Manager for Telkom/BCX, says a large part of the project involved the migration of legacy systems to the new generation network, as well as upgrading more than 100 lines to connect seamlessly into the ecosystem.
“There has been a massive overhaul to ensure we migrate legacy voice lines to Voice Over IP technology,” says Vhulahani. He emphasised that communication technologies in the 2021 local government elections will be handled almost exclusively through VOIP technology, although there are still a few places that have to use legacy systems for practical reasons.
“Our planning was somewhat caught off-guard by court challenges and we had to fast-track efforts in some places, but we’ve been able to test now for more than 2 weeks so we are confident our systems are stable,” says Vhulahani.
Apart from the massive network of fibre optic cables covering land and mobile links to the more than 23 000 voting districts across South Africa, Telkom/BCX have also activated around 60 satellites and 250 technicians to support communications technologies over the voting and reporting period. In total almost 5000 man hours have gone into planning, testing and implementing the communications systems.