It is free or cheap for ISPs to offer line speed upgrades – MetroFibre

MetroFibre has told MyBroadband that multiple Internet service providers have implemented the free line speed upgrades it announced in the lead-up to South Africa’s coronavirus lockdown.

Its statement was in response to feedback from ISPs to clients which said they could not pass on MetroFibre’s free speed upgrade because they did not receive a corresponding free upgrade to their network-to-network interface (NNI).

One source at an ISP said that NNI is typically sold based on port speed, starting at 1Gbps, then increasing to 10Gbps.

While they couldn’t give an exact price, they said the current market rate for a 1Gbps port is around R1,000 per month. A 10Gbps port is around R2,500 per month.

They added that the NNI to a fibre network operator, like MetroFibre, is only part of the equation.

The complaint being addressed by MetroFibre was that it did not pass on a corresponding NNI upgrade to ISPs with its free line speed upgrades.

MetroFibre said the majority of ISPs on its network did not need to increase their NNI, though.

“They were already appropriately capacitated from the outset to provide these services to their FTTH customers,” MetroFibre stated.

“To date, the feedback has shown that the 10Mbps speed upgrades have been more than sufficient for customer needs during this time.”

Most ISPs have enough capacity

MetroFibre said that most Internet service providers already have 10Gbps interfaces and, therefore, more than enough capacity to service their FTTH clients without implementing further upgrades.

“Smaller ISPs may not necessarily have this capacity, but in reality may not need it as they have much smaller client volumes, and could pass on the line speed upgrades to their existing client base without further upgrades.”

Confirming the information from the ISP source, MetroFibre said an NNI upgrade is an inexpensive exercise for a service provider.

MetroFibre added that NNI upgrades are handled on a case-by-case basis, following the appropriate needs analysis.

“We urge any ISP to liaise directly with MetroFibre’s wholesale division who will look into their needs and assist them accordingly,” it said.

Any expectation from certain ISPs that the backhaul capacity would be upgraded, and approached on a blanket basis without any engagement, is flawed for a number of reasons.

“The reality is that the majority of ISPs that required an upgrade to their backhaul capacity have already approached MetroFibre through the appropriate and established channels and each and every case has been assessed based on their requirements and assisted,” MetroFibre said.

“These ISPs are able to pass the benefits of the line speed upgrades onto their customers and have already done so from last week. It is incumbent on each ISP to make the necessary contact and arrangements in this regard.”

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It is free or cheap for ISPs to offer line speed upgrades – MetroFibre