People tend to resist change, but if you've endured a slow or unreliable internet line during lockdown, you'll be looking at making a shift. Read on as we dispel the most common myths around getting a fibre connection.
A fibre connection is highly cost-effective because most packages are uncapped, says Chris Peters, managing director of Fibre Compare. "If you compare an entry-level fibre package of R399 with LTE and some capped wireless services, you see immediately the value you're getting from that R399," he says.
Fibre roll-outs are aggressive, he says, with a great deal of proactive fibre-building by fibre network operators (FNOs) like Vumatel still taking place. Internet service providers (ISPs) then use this to sell a suite of services on top of these networks.
Increasingly, ISPs offer free installation without an activation fee so that people can access this new category without too many once-off costs – and of course to make their packages more attractive. Just note: these specials are offered on the basis that if you cancel within 12 months, you are liable to pay a portion of the installation fee or router cost back to the ISP (who will have already paid the FNO for any once-off costs).
"Counting the number of users and devices will help you assess what sort of user you are – i.e. light, medium or heavy. A three-person household with three TVs each streaming the internet, an internet-linked security service, and numerous smartphones and iPads would qualify as a heavy user and require speeds of up between 200mbps to 500mbps, whereas 20mbps should be plenty for a one-person work-from-home scenario that involves basic social media and email," advises Peters.
There's a common misconception that signing up for fibre is similar to getting tied into a 24-month cellphone contract. But, in fact, many ISPs work on a month-to-month arrangement with their customers. To change to another ISP you simply have to put in your 30-days notice and the date on which you wish to switch, and your billing gets moved across. A small switching fee may apply.
Peters says: "A phone contract provides a great analogy. You buy a new phone and in the beginning that R990 a month feels worth it. However, towards the end of the contract, it feels like you're being ripped off. Fibre was at a premium at first due to the infrastructure that needed to go into the ground, but it's a competitive industry and costs are coming down. You'll see options like ADSL going out of service because it's just not worth maintaining that old technology or replacing those stolen copper cables."
This is why it's always worth checking fibre prices and comparing them to see if you're still getting value for your money, even if you only bought a new package this year! That's how quickly prices can fall in this very competitive market.
Because this type of connection is made via fibre optic cables, says Peters, people cannot interrupt your transmission wirelessly to hack you. "There are just two points: you and the provider. This makes fibre inherently less prone to security scams and hackers."
He does point out, however, that it is worth investing in cyber-security products to ensure you are safe and secure once the internet gets to your house and is being broadcast via your Wi-Fi router.
In the past, he explains, some ISPs were threatened by distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, but now they are geared to deal with these. They tend to have a secondary network in place (a failover solution), which can provide the same service to clients and avoid any downtime if the core network is in any way compromised.
"Only people who get fibre for the first time will ever have to undergo a full installation, where the installer connects your home to fibre from the street," explains Peters.
"If you are an existing fibre user, you may experience about 12 hours of downtime when you switch services from one ISP to another. For a business account, a temporary wireless solution can be provided as a failsafe over those hours."
In such a switch, your service will come from exactly the same connection – only the service for which you're billed, and the provider offering you that support, will alter. "In this case, inform your current ISP of the desired cancellation date in writing; the new ISP must be provided with this same letter and notified when the cancellation period (likely 30 days) is over and when the switch must happen. In this way, no serious downtime should ever be experienced."
"Fibre is at an advanced stage in South Africa and our up-to-the-minute ecosystem makes it possible for customers to compare the best ISPs at any given location," says Peters. "A home or business can really operate at optimal capacity with fibre; there are none of the dips we had to endure with wireless and you can easily upgrade your package as needs change or capacity requirements increase."
"While it makes sense to keep one's finger on the pulse of the latest global connectivity trends (such as 5G), the vast benefits of fibre are likely to go unrivalled for quite some time," he concludes.
So that's why it will always benefit you to use our fibre comparison tool - whether you need a new installation, or just want to compare and switch... you can find a new deal with just a few clicks.
It can be confusing to understand what you're paying for when it comes to your fibre connection, but it's really a no-brainer. The fibre network operators (FNOs) own and manage the physical fibre that gets laid in the ground. They are the ones who do the installation of the line in your house. They then rent out that line to internet service providers (ISPs), who in turn offer you the service of internet connection.
Your ISP will bill you for the full amount of the service you receive, say R799, while the FNO will bill your selected ISP for making use of their fibre network, say R299. The in-between figure is the ISP profit, i.e. R500
This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial, legal or medical advice.