How South Africans will pick their fibre speeds online and only pay for what they use

The rapid pace of fibre growth and increasing competition in the fibre environment will lead to drastically different customer packages than what we see today.

This is according to Dark Fibre Africa (DFA) acting chief strategy officer Vino Govender, who told MyBroadband the way consumers pay for fibre packages will be very different five years from now.

DFA is an open access fibre infrastructure provider, which is active in both enterprise and consumer industries.

The company has grown its extensive fibre footprint in South Africa in recent years and provides fibre access to a number of service providers and mobile operators around the country.

On the consumer side, Govender said a steady increase in bandwidth capabilities paired with a competitive ISP market could change the way standard fibre packages are constructed.

“In my opinion, I think the model will change over the next five years,” said Govender.

“At the moment, you see a model where you can buy a capped package at a certain speed or an uncapped package at a certain speed.”

“I think in the next five years we will see a shift towards a much more consumption-based model,” he said.

Vino DFA

Managing your connection

He said a consumption-based model will allow users to dynamically tailor their connection specifications based on their needs.

“By that I mean you could, as an end user, access a portal and choose the amount of speed you want for a certain amount of time, on the fly,” said Govender.

He said the key offering will be for customers to change the dimensions of their connection dynamically, depending on their needs.

For example, if you are in a connected building and decide you want high-speed fibre for one day, you could manage the specifications of the line yourself through a dedicated application or portal and the fibre line parameters would be updated automatically.

“Using a system like this, as an end user I could change my bandwidth from 20Mbps to 100Mbps for the two hours, and the system will configure the network automatically and configure your billing accordingly for that period,” said Govender.

He added that with the increasing availability of bandwidth, there may not even be a choice between capped and uncapped in five years.

“Bandwidth is becoming so much more available, who knows whether we will even have capped and uncapped? Maybe it might be just uncapped in future.”

Already being implemented

Govender said that as an open-access infrastructure provider, DFA is implementing a system which can allow this type of product to be offered to users.

“From a DFA perspective, that is what we are doing now. We are building a software-defined network which gives us agility on the infrastructure side,” he said.

“We have invented an operations support system that controls your network and enables you to configure services in real time.”

DFA is currently implementing this system across its network, and the service could allow ISPs to offer customers more dynamic packages – while improving their ability to manage customer line parameters.

In the next five years, Govender said this type of dynamic offering could become the new standard in the consumer and business fibre market.

Now read: The massive popularity of lower-speed uncapped fibre in South Africa

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How South Africans will pick their fibre speeds online and only pay for what they use