Olympic star Usain Bolt has teamed up with Telkom to promote the company’s fibre broadband technology as it attempts catching up with competitors.

Jamaica’s Bolt is the fastest sprinter ever to hold both the 100 and 200 metres world records. He was also the first man to win six olympic gold medals in sprinting.

Telkom then has tapped the star to promote the company’s fibre broadband offerings which promise speeds of up to 100Mbps.

“We believe that Bolt, as the fastest person in the world, will assist us in creating awareness of the speed, consistency and reliability that fibre technology offers,” said Telkom’s Chief Marketing Officer, Enzo Scarcella, in a statement.

Telkom caught off guard

But the Usain Bolt marketing campaign comes after independent fibre broadband providers have given Telkom a run for its money.

Independent fibre providers such as Vumatel, Fibrehoods and even mobile network MTN have been embarking on extensive fibre broadband installations in major metros like Johannesburg.

Vumatel, for example, started with a single fibre network installation in Johannesburg’s Parkhurst last year but it now plans to reach 100 000 homes by 2016. Vumatel has also received an investment boost from banking firm Investec.

And the rise of these players, which turn to homeowners’ associations for permission to install these networks, has taken Telkom by surprise.

“I think it’s an interesting phenomenon that probably took us by surprise,” Alphonzo Samuels, the managing director for Telkom’s new wholesale broadband division Openserve, told Fin24 in October.

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