A Practical Guide to Choosing Fibre in South Africa, For Your Home or your Business

Fibre is the future. And once you get used to the lightning fast speeds and the reliable connection, there is no going back to the internet of the past.

Fibre internet is taking South Africa by storm and while you might be hearing more and more about this particular type of internet, you might still be somewhat confused about which fibre package will be best for your needs.

When browsing through the seemingly endless fibre options, for many people, the final fibre decision comes down to cost alone, and as such they end up with a connection that is way too slow for their needs.

To figure out which package is the most suitable for you, you need to start with understanding what fibre is, who provides what, the various options, the costs and the best packages.

Fibre Basics

In a very basic nutshell, Fibre refers to fibre optic wired internet networks which connect routers, and as such users, to the web.

In the past, copper cables were predominantly used the preferred fixed network South Africa is steadily moving towards using fibre as the primary source of internet connectivity. The move over to fibre was influenced by a number of factors including copper cable theft and slow internet speeds.

Before you start planning to make your move to fibre, you need to know that not all areas of South Africa are currently connected to the fibre network.

While there are large areas already connected, many smaller places and certain suburbs are still waiting for the fibre network to arrive. To find out if you have fibre, a quick Google search should give you the answers you need. Just type fibre and your town, or town and suburb, and the results should give you an indication as to whether you have fibre yet.

You then need to know that there is a difference between Fibre Networking Companies and Internet Service Providers. Networking companies are simply laying the connections while it is the internet service provider who will get you connected.

When you want to connect to the fibre network, you will need to contact your preferred ISP who will provide you with a list of fibre packages. Once you have chosen your package, you will be contacted by either a fibre technician from the networking company your ISP is working with or your ISP will be your contact, and arrangements can be made to extend the network into your home or business.

What type of fibre do you need? What are your options?

Figuring out which type of fibre you need is going to be the biggest decision you will make and it really all comes down to knowing what your needs are. Things like uploading documents, working online and streaming entertainment can be done on a slower connection, but with a faster line you are going to view the internet in a completely different way and you will definitely enjoy the boost in the speed that you will have at your disposal. Even a small fibre package will be faster than the equivalent ADSL. Faster internet not only means faster uploads and downloads (and faster streaming), but it also means that more than one person can be on the network at any given time.

To give you a clearer picture, these are the sorts of online activities that can benefit from having a faster connection:

  • File Transfers
  • Downloading or uploading files
  • Software and gaming updates
  • Gaming
  • Streaming (think Netflix)

If you are working from home, or studying for that matter, having a fast internet connection means you will be able to get through your daily workload without frustrations. You also won’t have to struggle with dropped connections halfway through uploading an important document.

Determining the speed you need might be a little bit difficult, as you don’t know if your requirements might suddenly change. The best way to avoid an issue would be to work with an internet service provider who makes it easy to change your package. Some can be really difficult if you want to make changes, so read some online reviews and don’t be shy about asking questions.

The Costs Involved with Fibre

When it comes to costs, which is the one thing that you are probably going to want to know all about first, there are a few things you need to understand.

Firstly, you might need to pay both the internet service provider as well as the networking company but in some cases these fees can be combined, with the ISP paying the network company for the installation by working the fee into your payments. And secondly, hardware costs could also be involved.

Speaking generally, you should expect to pay an installation fee, a fee for the router, and then a monthly fee once everything is connected. The installation and router fees are normally minimal, and should be a once off payment.

Costs will also be affected by whether you take a month to month contract, or if you sign up for a long term contract. If you go with the long term contract, be sure to read the fine print as you could get locked into a contract that results in you paying out more.

The cost of a fibre package is directly linked to the speed of said package. The faster your package is, the more you can expect to pay for it. And the price for the speed is largely determined by the networking company, not your ISP.

Remember, it is your ISP offering the package and not the networking company. But since your ISP is basically renting the line, in a manner of speaking, from the networking company they have to adhere to rates created by the networking company. And just to make things a bit more complicated, each networking company will set their own price.

The Best Fibre Speeds for Homes and Businesses

Fibre speeds are displayed as megabytes and gigabytes per second. Gigabytes are bigger than megabytes which means if you go for a gigabyte package, you will have faster internet upload and download speeds. These are the most common packages:

  • 5 – 10 Mbps

Great for home use, this line can comfortably accommodate up to 3 users at any given time without speeds dropping.

  • 25 – 50 Mbps

This line is ideal for larger homes and small businesses as it can accommodate around 5 devices without a problem.

  • 100 – 200 Mbps

Medium to large businesses can benefit from having this line. This is one of the fastest options on today’s market and can accommodate more than 5 users at a time.

Choosing a fibre ISP provider can be challenging when you don’t know the industry lingo, but when you work with Imaginet, we can help you navigate the world of fibre.