South African fibre network operator (FNO) MetroFibre launched its first store in Thembisa on Friday, 1 December 2023.
The new “Experience Store” is located at the Busy Corner Imbizo Shisanyama in Thembisa, with employees recruited from the local community.
The store will provide community members with a safe and convenient space close to their homes where they can learn more about fibre Internet, test out fibre-connected Wi-Fi, order a MetroFibre service, and get technical support and assistance.
“Existing customers can also visit the store for free Wi-Fi access if there is load-shedding or a network outage in the area,” MetroFibre said.
The FNO explained the development would give impetus to a major drive by the FNO to ensure that fibre connectivity and “real” fibre speeds are accessible to underserved communities.
MetroFibre’s network in Thembisa has passed over 20,000 homes and more than 4,000 of these households are active on its network.
MetroFibre CEO Jan-Jan Bezuidenhout said said the FNO sought to address the ‘connectivity inequality’ that held back entire communities, homes, schools, and businesses in underserved areas.
“By addressing the challenges that a lack of fast, stable, and affordable fibre internet access brings to South African households and small businesses in underserved areas, we believe we can empower more people to participate meaningfully in our digital, knowledge-based economy,” Bezuidenhout said.
“Connectivity has become as important as household utilities such as electricity and water and is fundamental to so many aspects of daily living, including for remote working, online meetings, security, cloud computing, transacting, education and learning, entertainment, streaming, social media, gaming and more.”
MetroFibre is one of several major FNOs that have launched affordable prepaid fibre packages in lower-income areas.
Its offering is called MetroFibre Connect and was first rolled out in 2022.
MetroFibre said the time-based, pay-as-you-go 20Mbps product offering has been especially welcomed by consumers who had been heavily reliant on costly mobile data.
“The MetroConnect solution provides the flexibility to top-up when you need to, for as long as you need it,” MetroFibre explained.
The MetroConnect package’s starter pack is priced at R260 and includes a free-to-use ONT/router, activation, installation and two weeks of uncapped 20Mbps symmetrical fibre.
Subsequent top-ups are charged at R20 per 24 hours and go up to R400 for 30 days of connectivity.
Bezuidenhout said fibre offered the best value for money and quality, with uncapped and unlimited solutions to meet the needs of every family member at home, at the same time.
“It’s the ultimate alternative solution to costly mobile data, which has its place for connectivity needs on the go but is impractical and expensive in meeting the increasingly data-intensive needs of home users and entire family units,” Bezuidenhouts stated.
MetroFibre also offers its standard month-to-month package in Thembisa for those who wish to have a consistent service without the need to top up.