Telkom fibre-to-the-home tested – this is how the Internet should be

Telkom announced the availability and pricing of its fibre-to-the-home service in December 2014, offering customers speeds between 20Mbps and 100Mbps.

Only certain areas in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, and the Western Cape initially had access to the service, with Telkom promising an expansion in geographic availability as the footprint of its fibre network increased.

Prices at launch ranged from R999 per month for a 20Mbps/50GB package, to R1,799 per month for a 100Mbps/200GB service.

Since 2014, Telkom has decreased prices and made a 10Mbps option available. Current Telkom FTTH prices are as follows:

Telkom FTTH Prices
Line speed Data cap Monthly price
10Mbps 50GB R699
20Mbps 50GB R849
40Mbps 100GB R1,099
100Mbps 200GB R1,599

Telkom fibre tested

A MyBroadband reader from Brooklyn, Pretoria invited us into his home to give his newly-installed Telkom 40Mbps/100GB fibre connection a go.

Before we get into the results of the test, he shared his experience in getting Telkom to install the fibre.

The entire process took close to two months, following uncertainty from Telkom if the neighbourhood was covered, installation-technician no-shows, and a general lack of communication from the company.

The reader was also charged for the fibre service before it was installed, and subsequently received a call from Telkom to ask how he was enjoying the fibre connection. The answer: he was still waiting for the technicians to arrive.

General usage

Once the line was installed, though, his broadband connection was good to go.

“When it’s up, it’s fantastic, but the service has been slow on occasion. Downloads are super fast, but general web browsing and sometimes watching videos on YouTube is the same as when I previously used my 10Mbps ADSL connection,” he said.

“Overall, it is a good service though.”

MyBroadband conducted tests on the line from 20:30 to 22:00 on a Tuesday evening, when many home Internet users would have been online, and found web browsing to be smooth.

Speed test

Ookla’s Speedtest was run several times during the evening, and produced download speeds of between 24Mbps and 37Mbps. The average download rate was in the mid-to-high twenties, while upload speeds hovered around the 10Mbps mark.

Local latency was good – often below 10ms – during most of the tests.

Telkom FTTH speed test
Telkom FTTH speed tests

Watching HD video

Watching 1080p (30fps and 60fps) and 1440p videos on YouTube was a pleasure, with the videos always buffering fast enough to allow smooth viewing and tracking to any point in the video with little to no delay.

The loading time of the videos was quicker than when watching them over MyBroadband’s 40Mbps VDSL connection at the office.

Downloading files

While browsing was good and HD video watching pleasant, the fibre connection showed its strength during download tests.

Downloading was incredibly fast, with small to large files going from Internet to hard drive at a rapid pace.

Small files, such as high-res images, opened at a good pace, while larger files downloaded through BitTorrent (such as Linux distros) progressed at speeds that brought a tear of joy to the eye.

Download speeds through the torrent protocol topped out at 4.6MB/s, while average download speeds of files were around the 4MB/s mark – meaning a 2GB file was done in under 9 minutes.

Downloading files at 4MB per second
Downloading files at 4MB per second

Installed equipment

The images below show what a typical Telkom FTTH installation looks like.

The fibre line was run alongside the analogue telephone line coming into the house, and was not trenched in.

A small box was installed inside the home, from which the fibre cable runs to a fibre router. This fibre router is connected via an Ethernet cable to a DSL router, which the users accesses for Internet connectivity.

Fibre box
Fibre box
Fibre and DSL routers
Fibre and DSL routers

Verdict

Even if Telkom’s 40Mbps fibre connection only offered fast file downloads (it actually offers a great overall experience), it would be worth its price tag.

Getting home from work, deciding to download a new copy of Linux, having a shower, and coming back to your PC to find the file ready to go brings about all sorts of happy feelings.

Watching videos on YouTube was excellent, while general browsing did not leave you punching your screen in frustration.

In short: if your area is covered, give strong consideration to trying out an FTTH connection.

More on FTTH

Telkom cuts ADSL and FTTH prices

Is 4Mbps ADSL more expensive than 20Mbps FTTH?

Battle for good broadband with new Roodepoort FTTH project

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Telkom fibre-to-the-home tested – this is how the Internet should be