South Africa’s state-owned broadcast infrastructure company is planning to become a colocation data center player.

Sentech CEO Mlamli Booi this week told ITWeb that the company will be upgrading its existing footprint and then expanding across the country. Booi said the company aims to consolidate the excess capacity of publicly-funded data centers, and deliver processing, data facilities, and cloud computing capacity.

The first phase of this plan will see Sentech upgrade its existing Nasrec-based Tier II-quality data center into a Tier III quality facility. The upgrade is set to be completed for relaunch by the end of the year.

“This is one of several data centers Sentech plans to launch across the country, with more to follow in various provinces,” Booi said. “The aim and purpose of the Sentech data centers is to provide services such as colocation, hosting, infrastructure-as-a-service, software-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service, and cloud services to business-to-business customers and government.”

Details around locations, specifications, or investments were not shared.

State-owned Sentech began as a technical division of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), responsible for signal distribution services of the corporation.

The company operates some 200 transmitter high sites and also offers broadband, data center, networking, and other connectivity services. Sentech provides broadcast transmission services to commercial and public broadcasters in the country, including over 150 community radio stations.

In its 2022 annual report, the company said: “We have taken a strategic decision to position ourselves as a digital infrastructure and platform provider for video and audio content and broadband connectivity in South Africa and broader Africa. We will achieve this goal through strategic business units focusing on media, broadband, satellite, towers, and data centers. Driving digital transformation will also be a fundamental component of our business model.”

The company continued: “There is plenty of demand and capacity for additional data center and cloud services, and this growth trend is expected to continue beyond 2026. Sentech needs to position itself to provide reliable 24/7 data center infrastructure that has back-up power to meet an ever-growing market.”

“We have identified potential property assets for optimization and the portfolio is being re-evaluated to make use of some of its non-productive assets, which include unutilized office buildings and land.”

Nasrec is a suburb of Johannesburg in the Gauteng area of the city. The size of its data center isn’t clear, though the company recently posted a tender for two 250kW chillers. Sentech has previously said it aims to deploy AWS Outposts at its Nasrec facility.

The company is set to merge with state-owned digital infrastructure company Broadband Infraco (BBI) as part of a government consolidation program. Sentech is also planning to procure and launch a communications satellite.