South Africa’s explosion of fibre network operators

Before 2014, South Africans were held ransom by limited broadband service providers and expensive fixed wireless data packages. In the past few years, an explosion of fibre networks has made high-speed broadband more widely accessible.

South Africa’s growing list of fibre network operators (FNOs) features at least 38 companies that provide either fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) or fibre-to-the-business (FTTB) connectivity. Prices have also plummeted since the early days of the service.

Some prominent FTTH providers — like Frogfoot, Openserve and Vumatel — have also started rolling out lower-cost fibre networks to less-affluent neighbourhoods of South Africa.

Although fibre optic networks had been around for years, a decisive moment for South African FTTH rollouts happened in 2014 when Vumatel’s fibre network launched in Parkhurst.

The rollout of fibre in South Africa brought substantial improvements to home broadband speeds — which were limited to ADSL and VDSL before FTTH became widely available.

Telkom offers a maximum download speed of 40Mbps on its DSL products, while fibre packages available in South Africa reach speeds of up to 1Gbps.

Fibre connections also offer higher upload speeds than copper-based Internet connections.

A MyBroadband comparison previously revealed that fibre pricing had dropped as much as 85% since the early days of the service in South Africa.

Another recent comparison showed that fibre pricing tends to be lower per megabit than old copper-based broadband.

It also confirmed that fibre packages become more cost-effective at higher speeds when considering the price per megabit per second.

A list of South Africa’s fibre network operators is summarised in the table below.

Fibre network operators in South Africa
Balwin Fibre

Celerity Networks

Century City

Connect Clear Access

Connectivity Services Fibre

Cybersmart

DNATel

Dark Fibre Africa

Evotel

FibreSuburb Networks

FibreNet

Frogfoot

Garden Route Fibre Network

Herotel

Lightstruck

Link Africa

Link Layer

Linteng

MTN

Mesh Telecom

MetroFibre

Mitsol

Munyaka Lifestyle Estate Fibre

Netstream

Octotel

Open Fibre

Openserve

Polo fields Estates

Purple Forest Fibre

Rise Telecoms

Route Networks Fibre

Seacom FibreCo

TT Connect

Teralink networks

Vodacom

Vumatel

Waterfall Access Networks

Zoom Fibre


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South Africa’s explosion of fibre network operators