Why MetroFibre did not double line speeds

Several fibre network operators recently rolled out line speed upgrades to local subscribers.

Those with FTTH lines on Vumatel, Frogfoot, Link Africa, and MetroFibre saw their speeds increase in the first week of April.

While Vumatel, Frogfoot, and Link Africa decided to double, or more than double, line speeds, MetroFibre increased speeds for all subscribers by 10Mbps.

When asked about its approach, MetroFibre said there were two reasons it decided to increase line speeds in this way.

“MetroFibre’s first priority was to protect the integrity of the network,” it told MyBroadband.

The second reason was that people on smaller packages would benefit far more from a speed upgrade than subscribers who already had 50Mbps or 100Mbps lines.

A subscriber with a 5Mbps line would see their speeds triple, and those on 10Mbps would get double their regular speed.

“We wanted to give people on the smaller packages enough to be able to work from home, educate children, as well as keep in contact from a communication point of view,” MetroFibre said.

“People with higher speeds will already have enough speed to do these things without us doubling, but to make it fair for all customers we have still given them an additional 10Mbps.”

Increase in video streaming

While Vumatel, Frogfoot, and Link Africa have doubled their subscribers’ line speeds, video streaming services such as Netflix and YouTube have taken steps to reduce the strain on networks.

The amount of bandwidth being consumed around the world, especially by streaming video, increased dramatically as governments ordered citizens to remain at home during the COVID-19 outbreak.

YouTube reduced its default video resolution to standard definition globally, while Netflix reduced the bitrate of its video streams in South Africa from 30 March.

“Given the crisis, we’ve developed a way to reduce Netflix’s traffic on telecommunications networks by 25% while also maintaining the quality of our service,” said Ken Florance, VP Content Delivery at Netflix.

MultiChoice also lowered the streaming resolution of its DStv Now and Showmax mobile apps.

The company told MyBroadband it wanted to help ISPs with managing higher bandwidth loads during the COVID-19 lockdown period.

Now read: Free Internet speed upgrades during lockdown in South Africa – All the details

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Why MetroFibre did not double line speeds