What you need to know if you are switching to fibre

Openserve recently postponed the switch-off of its DSL and copper-based services from 1 September to 1 December 2020.

“We have taken a decision to announce a conditional extension to this initiative, to allow for as many users as possible to be migrated over to OFC before the DSL services are discontinued,” Openserve said.

The details provided by Openserve regarding the extension are as follows:

  • DSL users in the identified areas now have until 30 November 2020 to be migrated to OFC.
  • Assurance incidents (fault requests) for the identified services will only be accepted up to and including 31 October 2020.
  • It is therefore expected that faulty DSL services will be migrated to fibre when such faults are reported.
  • Any remaining affected DSL services in the OFC footprint will be discontinued on 01 December 2020. Consideration will be given in cases where an OFC has been ordered but not installed yet.

Openserve’s extension means that DSL customers have until December 2020 to prepare themselves for the transition to fibre.

While the delay gives DSL customers some time, it is still worth preparing early to ensure that the transition is seamless.

With this in mind, MyBroadband asked several popular South African ISPs what current DSL customers need to know about switching to fibre.

Benefits of fibre

Vox told MyBroadband that the benefits of fibre include:

  • Reliability – Unlike copper cables, doesn’t corrode and won’t get stolen.
  • Stability – One does not need to worry about distance from the exchange – the speed you choose is the speed you get.
  • Scalability – with speeds of up to 1,000Mbps, one never has to worry about slow internet no matter how many devices one has on their home network.
  • Cost – Despite the above, you will get a cost-saving when moving to fibre.

“Fibre Internet is a much faster and the most reliable connectivity solution that you can get for your home,” agreed RSAWEB.

“Fibre is also more affordable than ADSL and offers a wider variety of packages to suit the different needs and lifestyles of consumers.”

How to get fibre

Mind the Speed said that to get fibre, prospective customers must remember that the area in which they live must actually have fibre infrastructure installed.

To determine this, customers should use a coverage map – which most ISPs provide on their websites.

Vox noted that there are usually only one or two fibre network operators (FNOs) in any one area.

An FNO is an entity that installs the physical fibre cabling into the ground.

Your preferred ISP will be partnered with a number of FNOs, and by using their coverage map, you will be able to see which networks are available for you to connect to.

Once you inform your ISP which FNO you would like to use, they will ensure that the FNO connects your home to their network.

The ISP will then activate your fibre service, and once this is complete, you will be connected.

You can then cancel your existing DSL service – both the data and the line products.

Some ISPs offer you LTE Internet connectivity while you wait for your fibre to be installed, in which case you can cancel your DSL service sooner.

What to look for in an ISP

RSAWEB told MyBroadband that there are four important things to look for in a fibre ISP:

  • Customer service ratings – check Google Star ratings and customer comments as an indicator.
  • Infrastructure – Choose an ISP that has a resilient fibre infrastructure that can handle outages such as load-shedding so that your internet uptime remains unaffected where possible.
  • Package type – To get the best internet experience, it’s important that you choose a line speed that will be able to cope with your internet demands, such as the number of connected devices and people, work-from-home requirements, etc.
  • Value and price – This extends beyond the monthly price of your fibre. You should also consider additional value such as free installation and/or connection, a free premium router, free 1-hour on-site support or Wi-Fi assessment, etc.

Vox added additional value-adds that you should consider when looking for an ISP – such as Wi-Fi extenders, VoIP solutions, and UPSs.

It also highlighted the value of local peering to ensure that you get faster speeds when using popular services such as Google and Netflix.

Another key consideration – as highlighted by Mind the Speed – is that the ISP has capacity on a variety of subsea cables which connect you to websites hosted across the world while offering redundancy.

This means that if one of the subsea cables break, there are several others which will keep you connected.

Alongside the other considerations already mentioned, Mind the Speed also highlighted that your line should be unshaped, and you should also consider the fair usage of the ISP before signing up to a package with them.

Now read: When a fibre rollout goes wrong

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What you need to know if you are switching to fibre