Broadband for business: ADSL versus Fibre/Microwave

ARC Telecoms recently launched their Community Connect broadband service, offering business clients an access service using a ‘community fibre access point’, with point-to-point microwave to connect the last mile (2km).

“Community Connect changes the dynamics of data services for midsize business, which typically do not have the monthly spend to attract network operators to lay fibre to their offices. Yet SMEs still need low-latency, high speed, symmetrical data links for VPN, Internet access and voice calls, but at a reasonable cost,” ARC Telecoms explained.

Community Connect is a symmetrical service (downlink and uplink speeds are the same), making it suitable for both voice and data traffic with speeds of up to 4Mbps.

Pricing is significantly higher than traditional ADSL offerings. An entry level 4Mbps link with 30GB of monthly data usage costs R5,341. The same service with a 100GB data bundle is priced at R8,932.

The following table provides an overview of the cost associated with ARC Telecoms’ Microwave/Fibre solution.  It should be noted that fully redundant, low contention business grade ADSL bandwidth priced at R99 per GB was selected for this comparison.

Business ADSL, Bonded ADSL and Microwave/Fibre pricing comparison
Service Download Speed Upload Speed Data bundle Monthly Cost
ARC Community Connect 4 Mbps 4 Mbps 30 GB R5,341
ARC Community Connect 4 Mbps 4 Mbps 50 GB R6,880
ARC Community Connect 4 Mbps 4 Mbps 100 GB R8,932
Telkom ADSL 4Mbps/10Mbps 4 Mbps/10 Mbps 512 Kbps/1 Mbps 30 GB R3,566
Telkom ADSL 4Mbps/10Mbps 4 Mbps/10 Mbps 512 Kbps/1 Mbps 50 GB R5,546
Telkom ADSL 4Mbps/10Mbps 4 Mbps/10 Mbps 512 Kbps/1 Mbps 100 GB R10,496
MWEB Business Uncapped 4Mbps 4 Mbps 512 Kbps Uncapped R2,542
MWEB Business Uncapped 10Mbps 10 Mbps 1 Mbps Uncapped R5,542
MWEB Bonded ADSL 8 Mbps 1 Mbps 50 GB R3,491
MWEB Bonded ADSL 12 Mbps 1.5 Mbps 50 GB R4,587
MWEB Bonded ADSL 16 Mbps 2 Mbps 50 GB R5,683
MWEB Bonded ADSL 8 Mbps 1 Mbps Uncapped R6,591
MWEB Bonded ADSL 12 Mbps 1.5 Mbps Uncapped R9,787
MWEB Bonded ADSL 16 Mbps 2 Mbps Uncapped R13,083

It is difficult to beat MWEB Business’ uncapped and bonded ADSL prices when considering the overall value proposition, but ARC Telecoms believes their service does provide a compelling value proposition.

ARC Telecoms CEO Steve Briggs explains that their offering has strict business service level agreements (SLAs), is symmetrical and has very low contention rations.

Briggs points out that ADSL is a best effort solution which is prone to downtime because of copper theft and related problems. Briggs added that ADSL is highly contended which is often a problem for business applications.

Steve Briggs

“ARC has positioned their Community Connect product as a viable alternative to bonded DSL in terms of uptime, monitoring and service levels and is hence priced accordingly,” said Briggs.

When it comes to the high per-GB prices, Briggs explained that the initial monthly bundle of 30GB includes an amortisation of the high performance, high speed radio equipment as well as the internet connectivity charges.

“ARC’s out of bundle rate is R45 per gig and gives access to low contention, high quality international and local internet access,” said Briggs. “In addition, although not advertised, in the case of multi-tenant environments, we do look at further reducing the per user price.”

Good news for ARC Telecoms’ Community Connect clients is that a speed upgrade is in the pipeline, but Briggs did not want to divulge exact dates at this time.

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Broadband for business: ADSL versus Fibre/Microwave