Fibre is becoming more available across South Africa, allowing South Africans to get access to stable, high-speed Internet at an affordable price.
Switching to fibre has become even more important since Telkom confirmed it plans to decommission ADSL connections where fibre is available.
It is therefore critical that South Africans are prepared for the transition from ADSL to fibre; otherwise they will be left without Internet connectivity.
However, many South Africans find the prospect of switching to fibre intimidating – particularly if they’ve got ADSL or LTE services that “just work”.
In truth, however, the process of signing up for fibre is quite simple.
ISP vs Fibre provider
One of the things that confuse many South Africans about switching to fibre is the difference between fibre providers and ISPs.
A fibre provider is a company that lays down extensive networks across the country to enable Internet connectivity. This is the equivalent of the copper lines across South Africa that have historically been used for ADSL and telephone connections.
The ISP (Internet Service Provider) is the business that then provides what is known as “last mile” services – or in other words, ensuring that your home gets connected to the aforementioned fibre provider’s network.
A simple way to understand this is through the lens of ADSL – Telkom was always the fibre provider, but you could buy your ADSL services through the likes of Afrihost or MWEB – who are ISPs.
Therefore, when buying fibre, you will buy it from an ISP, and they will connect you to the network of a fibre provider.
The ISP you ultimately choose will send you a quote for your fibre product.
Some ISPs will include the cost of installation and/or any hardware required, while others will charge you for these additional costs. You should keep this in mind when choosing an ISP, as installations and hardware can add thousands of rand to the cost of your fibre connection.
Installation involves physically connecting your home to the fibre network.
This will usually involve digging a trench – your ISP, or the installers they commission, should communicate with you regarding how this will take place and what you are comfortable with.
Once this has been completed, the installation team will usually connect your new router to the last-mile cabling they just installed – and you will soon be ready to go.
The price of fibre varies across fibre providers and ISPs, so it is worth shopping around before deciding on a provider.
Sometimes, however, paying slightly more per month may be worth it – particularly if you would like to choose a particular ISP or network provider.
Usually, there will only be one or two fibre networks you can connect to, and most fibre ISPs will allow you to enter your address to determine which networks they can connect you to.
This also has an impact on the price you will be paying, as your home may not be connected to the cheaper fibre provider you would prefer to use.
As mentioned previously, you should consider additional costs that are charged by some ISPs, including installation and hardware costs.
A R20-per-month difference, for example, amounts to R240 per year – whereas installation and hardware can amount to thousands of rand – making the former option more affordable.
Choosing an ISP
While the price of your fibre is a key consideration, so too should be the quality of service you get from the ISP.