MWeb Business has experienced over 500% growth in its fibre installations in the past year – an indication that fibre is finally taking its place in the mainstream of connectivity technology.
According to MWeb Business GM Debbie Pretorius, this growth is split fairly evenly between dedicated fibre services, in which the business opts for its own fibre “leased line”; and a more cost-effective broadband-over-fibre option, in which the fibre link is shared in much the same way as ADSL lines are shared.
“The contention ratio on fibre is significantly lower than for ADSL; and fibre is also far more scalable with speeds of up to 100Gbits plus readily achieved, should that be required,” she says.
Pretorius notes, however, that the growth in the roll out of MWeb Business fibre services does not fully reflect the surge in demand for the fast, reliable and scalable connectivity fibre offers.
“There are around 15 fibre providers in the country – up from fewer than five a couple of years ago. All these providers are working flat out to extend their networks as quickly as possible. That’s the good news and it means that businesses located within the rapidly growing fibre footprint can have access to the benefits fibre provides.
“The bad news is that the number of areas that do have access to affordable fibre is still tiny when compared to the areas that don’t. And even within the so-called fibre-zones, the cost of the service can still be difficult to justify – depending on exactly where the business is located,” she adds.
Pretorius explains that fibre connectivity pricing is largely a function of geography. The further a business is from an appropriate exchange, the more it will have to pay for connectivity.
“However, as the fibre network grows, prices will drop. There is no doubt that fibre will ultimately become the de facto technology of choice for most businesses,” she says.