Local ISPs rank fibre network operators

  • The Internet Service Providers’ Association asked 48 ISPs to rank fibre network operators on a number of criteria.
  • Telkom Group’s Openserve ranked the highest while Dark Fibre Africa ranked the lowest among top-rated FNOs.
  • The ranking can help citizens and businesses avoid FNOs which rate rather poorly among the businesses that deal with them everyday.

South Africans may grow fed up with their internet service provider (ISP) when the quality of their internet simply isn’t up to scratch but ISPs are often at the mercy of the fibre network operator (FNO) they use to facilitate a user’s connection.

One of the best parts of the local internet connectivity sphere is the amount of choice available to ISPs and as a result, customers. However, given the large number of players in this space, knowing which businesses to embrace, and which to avoid is of utmost importance.

As such, the Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA) recently surveyed its members to determine which FNOs are the best – and worst – in the country. A total of 48 ISPs were surveyed and asked to rate FNOs on a variety of criteria including:

  • Value for money (line fees and port fees)
  • Reliability (network uptime, packet loss and network stability)
  • Support (responsiveness, resolution times and service level agreements)
  • Technical proficiency (network design, MTU size and use of technologies such as Option 82 and IPv6)
  • Communication (network notices and scheduled maintenance events)
  • Friendliness of staff (ease of doing business, friendliness, helpfulness and how knowledgeable employees are)
  • Business processes and operations (ordering, migrating, cancelling and billing)
  • Software systems (the FNO’s ISP portal, ticketing system and GIS system)
  • Adherence to Open Access principles (ethics, fairness, and avoidance of conflicts of interest)
  • Optimism that the FNO will improve in the future
  • Likelihood of promoting or recommending this FNO to other ISPs

Looking at FNOs which were rated by more than 10 ISPs, Openserve came out tops across the board. It’s a rather notable win for the Telkom Group subsidiary considering the reputation Telkom used to have. Octotel and Metrofibre follow behind Openserve as the next most well rated FNOs. Metrofibre had the highest scores for the friendliness of its staff (7.4) and business processes (7.2). Octotel came in on top for support (7.3) and software systems (7.4)

The worst-rated FNO – looking at those rated by more than 10 ISPs – is surprisingly Dark Fibre Africa. The firm’s communications, software systems, and business processes brought its overall score down. Overall however, Vodacom ranks the worst scoring below 5 on all metrics except Technical.

The top ten follows below:

  1. Openserve – 7.0
  2. Metrofibre – 6.8
  3. Octotel – 6.8
  4. Frogfoot – 6.3
  5. Vumatel – 6.0
  6. Link Africa – 5.9
  7. Dark Fibre Africa – 5.8
  8. Liquid Intelligent Technologies – 4.7
  9. Lightstruck – 4.4
  10. Vodacom – 4.1

“ISPA has spent the last year engaging with its members and FNO to develop a set of Fibre Network Operator and Internet Service Provider Best Practice Recommendations designed to ensure that FNOs and ISPs work together to deliver seamless, cost-effective fibre-based internet services to South Africans. These recommendations are being finalised and will be released shortly,” the association says.

The full list of FNO ratings can be found here and it may prove useful for those looking to move so that you can avoid the likes of Teralink Networks. Despite only receiving a rating from two ISPs the FNO received a score of just 0.3 with most criteria being scored 0.0. Not a great look.


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