Cybersmart limits its LightSpeed fibre service to 400Mbps, not because of technical or commercial limitations, but because it is the typical maximum speed users get when doing an online speed test.
This is according to Cybersmart CTO Laurie Fialkov, who was speaking at the MyBroadband Underground Conference in Johannesburg.
Fialkov said that instead of using Gigabit Passive Optical Networks (GPON) for their fibre network, they provide every subscriber with their own unique wavelength.
He said GPON has the drawback of being a contended network, because a single fibre feed is used to serve multiple homes or apartments in an area.
By providing each user with their own wavelength, Cybersmart bypasses contention concerns and can provide subscribers with symmetrical connections at high speeds.
This makes it commercially and technically possible for Cybersmart to offer gigabit connections at affordable prices, but there is a snag – consumer expectations.
When a consumer pays for a 1Gbps connection, they expect to see these speeds when they do online speed tests.
However, while the fibre connection provides these speeds, many technology restrictions on the consumer’s end can limit speed test results.
Speed tests are often used by consumers to judge whether their broadband connection is delivering on its promises, and limitations therefore cause unhappiness.
These limitations include networking constraints – especially when using Wi-Fi – and low-end laptops and other hardware.
Fialkov said it is challenging to explain to clients that the speed restrictions are not on the fibre connection, but rather on their side.
To manage consumer expectations, Fialkov decided to launch the 400Mbps service, as their research revealed that most consumers get around 400Mbps peak speeds when conducting online speed tests.
Consumer expectations, and meeting them, are therefore the driving force behind Cybersmart’s 400Mbps fibre service.