There is a significant pricing disparity between home and business fibre, and many South Africans may wonder why this is the case.
Home fibre is an affordable option for everyday users that do not run a business, and it is faster and cheaper than ADSL and fixed-LTE, respectively.
It is possible to sign up to uncapped home fibre packages for just a few hundred rand per month and be able to stream, surf, and game to your heart’s content.
Business fibre is for organisations that are willing to pay more for a better connection and improved features that can serve their business operations.
However, it is sometimes unclear why business fibre costs significantly more than home fibre when, on face value, both products often offer uncapped data and comparable speeds.
MyBroadband asked companies that offer both products why their business fibre options are more expensive than home fibre.
Business fibre guarantees
RSAWEB told MyBroadband that business fibre carries certain guarantees for customers.
This comes in the form of a Service Level Agreement (SLA), which holds the ISP accountable for providing a certain level of service.
For example, if there are service interruptions, the ISP is liable to specific turnaround times that come in the form of priority support from itself and the fibre provider.
This means that any fixes are prioritised over those required by home users.
Business clients can also opt for redundancy, meaning they can choose dual fibre or other connectivity products alongside their business fibre products to ensure they suffer no downtime.
A better connection
Vodacom Business said there are several fundamental differences between business and home fibre products that ensure business fibre users receive a better connection.
For example, the contention ratio of business fibre products is significantly better than those offered with home fibre.
Contention ratio refers to the number of users that can access or share the network simultaneously at the same line speed.
Vodacom said that while business fibre products offer contention ratios of between 10:1 and 20:1, home fibre only gets a ‘best effort’ ratio.
This can be particularly restrictive for customers who live in complexes or estates, where lines can be shared across many different residents.
Business fibre customers also receive symmetrical bandwidth, while some home fibre users often receive lower upload speeds than download speeds.
For businesses that upload a lot of data – such as those that use cloud technologies – high upload speeds are incredibly important.
Some business fibre products also offer static IP addresses, which mean that these business networks can support services like email hosting, CRM databases, CCTV systems, and websites.
What to do if you are a small business owner
Some small business owners may see the high prices of business fibre products and presume they should sign up for home fibre instead.
Vodacom Business says it does offers a home Internet offering of 200GB per month for R579 that can be used by small businesses looking for affordable options.
However, other products these businesses should consider include its Business Internet LTE and Business Internet Wireless solutions, which it said are more affordable.
RSAWEB agreed that there are now many affordable business broadband options that are easy to deploy – including business broadband fibre and microwave services.
“There are also mobile data options over a business-grade router. These have proven to be cost-effective and easy to manage,” RSAWEB said.