The Real Cost of Fibre Installation
Jacques du Rand 2020-06-26
Do you know what you're really being charged for when you opt to install fibre? And which option is the better choice? FibreTiger investigates what the upfront costs mean, and whether you really need them.
The general perception is that the provider that offers free installation with the “no strings attached" option-to-cancel in the first month, is the better choice. This is simply not always the case.
There is much more to your fibre installation than meets the eye than purely choosing a package. To pick the best provider, it's important to also understand the cost and value of your total fibre installation which includes amongst others: the cost of the average internet service provider (ISP) router; the cost of laying the cables (that more often than not is done through and independent contractor); and the Fibre ONT or CPE device (which is the little black or white box supplied with the installation).
We're here to help you explore the "cost" definitions minefield of fibre installation for your home or small business:
- The Once Off Installation Cost
The installation cost is, in fact, the most prevalent cost, and most ISPs have them. There is no real avoiding, or getting around it. It usually covers the cost of the fibre cable that is laid from outside your property into your home or business and normally includes the ONT/CPE device which connects the fibre to your router.
For OpenServe this is approximately R2,000 and Vuma is around R1,700. If the property already has fibre installed you shouldn't need to pay this fee again. With that said though, many ISPs systems are not geared towards migration (yet), if possible - ask upfront.
- The Once Off Activation Cost
This comes with the territory, and is another cost that generally can't be avoided. However, of late consumers have started asking whether this activation fee related to changing service providers is really necessary. Once such example is with Vumatel. Some of their clients recently took to the MyBroadband forum asking why the fibre provider charges a connection fee when users change service providers. The general thinking around this is that once you're connected, you're connected, right?
Currently most providers move this cost onto their users. Expect to pay around R999. Some service providers waive the fee, but, with terms and conditions attached such as being “tied in" with them for a minimum period of a year, and only if you cancel will you be held liable for the R999 amount. Lastly there are those providers that absorb the full cost with no strings attached.
But the short answer to the Vumatel question is that it basically comes down to one thing: The reason ISPs charge a connection fee is based on the simple fact that Vumatel charges service providers a minimum of R876 excluding VAT to get a client onto the network, even in cases where the client is an existing fibre subscriber who has decided to switch ISPs. Hopefully in future we will see this change as more and more areas come online and areas between networks become more blurred. (Currently each network has very defined areas to work in)
- The Setup Cost
Some ISPs combine the activation fee with the setup fee. This usually includes the “free router and the configuration of that router". See what they do there?
- Contract VS Month-To-Month VS Semantics
The majority of ISPs will cover the bulk of the costs if you are prepared to sign a contract. Most contracts pull you in for 12 to 24 months. This seems like a fair deal since there is the parting of approximately R3,000 capital involved on the side of the ISP. The fact is that some ISPs disguise this with a sales pitch along the lines of “no contracts, free install" but, if you cancel within 12 months you are liable for all costs involved. It really doesn't matter how you look at it or how it is that you try and spin this, it still looks like a contract. It is vital for subscribers who get upset by this to realise that the cost of installing fibre doesn't come cheap and that there are expenses involved. To be fair though, customers should not be offended and can't seriously expect their ISP to be happy with being out of pocket.
- Getting Fibre Ready
If you are moving into or out of a fibre ready home or business premises you are going to need the fibre ONT or CPT box that connects you to your fibre line and to your router. The box is included in your installation.
When you move don't take this with you, it is part of the installation. Although, should you find yourself in the position of having moved in and find this box missing, you could try your luck and ask your ISP to deliver another at no cost.
If you are looking for a trusted and affordable fibre ISP, then compare fibre providers with FibreTiger.