Fibre to the Home (FTTH) is the preferred technology to connect your home to the internet at an affordable rate, but unfortunately FTTH isn’t available across the country yet, and will not be for the foreseeable future.
Because it is expensive to build FTTH networks, a high uptake is required for an acceptable ROI and business case.
FTTH network operators are presently focused on rollouts in high income and high population density areas.
“Lower LSM and sparsely spread residential and agricultural areas are not included in the current and future rollout plans of most FTTH networks,” Technical Director and co-founder of WIRUlink, Riaan Maree said.
Why you don’t have fibre in your area yet
Currently, billions are being spent on rapid FTTH deployments throughout the major metros in South Africa, and providers are in a race to claim their stake in areas where it makes financial sense to roll out fibre.
Even in these areas, the uptake would be too low for more than one or two networks to build infrastructure in the same area.
As such, the network operator that builds a FTTH network in an area first, will likely not have other fibre operators building their networks in the same area to compete for subscriber numbers.
Once all highly profitable suburbs have access to FTTH within the next 2 to 3 years, the pace of rollouts in more suburbs throughout South Africa will be much slower and see more organic growth.
Because of the high cost of building a FTTH network, most areas in South Africa will likely not have access to fibre within the next 5 or more years.
The need for more bandwidth in South Africa
Home user bandwidth requirements are increasing daily, with video streaming TV services being the biggest contributor to this growth.
With monthly satellite TV subscription pricing reaching new heights, access to fast and reliable internet access gives viewers access to on-demand online streaming TV with an ever-increasing choice of movies, series and other shows, while still paying less per month than what they used to pay to satellite TV providers.
ICASA is busy investigating ways to stop the current monopolies and exclusivity on content to make content, such as sport, available to other pay-TV and online streaming services.
Although there’s currently a fibre hype in the market, homes and businesses need fast, reliable and affordable connectivity today, while still having the option to switch to fibre when available in their area.
For this reason, other high-speed internet access options need to be considered.
Alternatives to fibre
LTE can offer excellent speeds in the right conditions, but generally has data caps or usage based speed throttling because of limited LTE spectrum and the effect a handful of heavy users could have on the overall performance of the LTE network.
For this reason, LTE is not an ideal technology to use for TV streaming and heavier internet users.
With this in mind, a good Wireless Internet Service Provider (WISP) in your area, could just be the answer.
Some WISPs offer uncapped and unthrottled internet access packages that is the perfect match for unlimited online TV streaming.
When choosing to make use of the services from a WISP, make sure to do proper home work on the company.
Most WISPs are small community based networks with limited resources and capital to build a high capacity, scalable and fully redundant network.
Will the wireless provider give you the option to switch from wireless to fibre when FTTH is available in your area?
Maree made a very good point that customers should read reviews online and speak to other WISP customers in your area to find out if their Wireless Internet Service Provider is focused on providing the best service available to its’ customers.
WIRUlink Wireless Internet Access
WIRUlink offers Uncapped and Unshaped wireless internet access to homes and businesses and has been voted SA’s Best Wireless Broadband provider on MyBroadband.co.za in 2016.
“We have invested over R9m on the network since February 2017 to upgrade capacity to offer the highest possible speeds and reliability at competitive prices,” Maree enthused.
The ever-increasing service area of the WIRUlink network, currently cover a population of over 5 million and hundreds of new towers are in the negotiation, approval and construction phases.
“At WIRUlink we build our own towers, away from other networks and interference, and ensure the towers have battery backup systems to stay online in case of a power outage in the area.
“It is of utmost importance to us to provide the most reliable service available and be the trusted network provider to customers making use of the network. Things should just work!” concluded Maree.
Wherever available, WIRUlink has fibre connectivity at its towers with multiple redundant carrier grade microwave links as a backup.
WIRUlink peers directly with thousands of other networks in Teraco (South Africa), London, Amsterdam and Frankfurt (including Google, Microsoft, Showmax, Netflix, Amazon and other major content providers).
All WIRUlink customers get public IPv4 addresses and fully support IPv6.
WIRUlink also offers high speed fibre internet access at very competitive rates on the Vumatel FTTH networks.
WIRUlink’s wireless customers that have been installed within 12 months have the option to switch to FTTH and keep the wireless connection as a backup or sell the wireless equipment back to WIRUlink.
For more information on WIRUlink’s Wireless Internet Access or to check for coverage at your specific address, visit http://wiru.co.za or call on 010 595 0000.
This article was published in partnership with WIRUlink.