South African fibre networks are expected to complete their major metro builds by the end of 2017, which will bring fibre-to-the-home to many people.
This is according to Webafrica CEO Tim Wyatt-Gunning, who told MyBroadband he expects the question “Can I get fibre?” to fall away in 2018.
Over the past year, Webafrica has seen exceptional growth in its fibre customer numbers – with over 20,000 South Africans joining the ISP.
Wyatt-Gunning said the higher speeds offered by fibre enables their subscribers to enjoy a wider range of services, including video streaming.
“To put all of that into perspective, we now deliver an average of two-times more data per customer than we did this time last year,” said Wyatt-Gunning.
For those who cannot get fibre, Webafrica was the first ISP to offer Rain’s fixed LTE-A product to South Africans.
“LTE is proving to be a very attractive alternative to disgruntled ADSL customers who cannot yet get fibre,” said Wyatt-Gunning.
The Webafrica CEO said 2017 has seen a move away from “slow and unreliable” DSL to faster and cheaper fibre and fixed-LTE services.
The move is partly fueled by the need for faster, more stable connections to serve users’ streaming needs.
“A year ago, our biggest worry was managing download speeds. Today, it’s all about streaming.”
Webafrica is positioning itself to take advance of this growth with a strong focus on automation to improve the delivery and support of its products.
Moving in the right direction
Wyatt-Gunning said South Africa is moving in the right directions when it comes to broadband developments, and he expects this to continue.
“A couple of years ago, the only substantial underlying network for the broadband market was provided by Telkom – and with that came all the usual monopolistic inefficiencies and high prices,” said Wyatt-Gunning.
“Today, there are over 30 fibre network providers and there are five LTE networks which have introduced choice for service providers such as Webafrica, and prices to our customers are being driven down fast.”