Parkhurst’s goal to become the most connected suburb in South Africa took its first major step yestrerday at the ceremonial ground-breaking event for Vumatel’s fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) project took place just outside Parkhurst Primary School.

Along with the first trench, three bandwidth providers took the wraps off of their data offerings for the Parkhurst FTTH project along with the pricing for each package which we have courtesy of chums over at TechCentral. The packages fall into three different download speeds 4Mbps, 50Mbps and 100Mbps with both capped and uncapped data being offered.

Here’s how the different providers compare to ADSL in the same area.

And now a breakdown of that chart.

Vox Telecom has three different packages available, one in each speed range which include fibre line rental, data on the company’s “Fat Pipe”, 1GB of mobile data and 10GB of online storage

  • 4Mbps fibre line rental – 100GB of data – 1GB of mobile data – 10GB of backup storage – R449 per month.
  • 50Mbps fibre line rental – 150GB of data – 1GB of mobile data – 100GB of backup storage – R999 per month.
  • 100Mbps fibre line rental – 300GB of data – 1GB of mobile data – 100GB of backup storage – R1 449 per month.

Cybersmart has just the one offer available

  • 50Mbps fibre line rental – uncapped data – shaped for peer-to-peer file sharing – R1 299 per month.

The last service provider is Cool Ideas who, like Vox Telecom, offer packages at all three speed thresholds but do not include the fibre line rental in their pricing which will need to be paid to Vumatel (We’ve included those prices in brackets for you). Unlike Vox however they offer both capped and uncapped products which can be seen in the pricing below.

  • 4Mbps fibre line rental – uncapped data – R399 per month (R0 line rental for a total of R399 per month).
  • 50Mbps fibre line rental – 100GB of data – R949 per month (R499 line rental for a total of R1 448 per month).
  • 50Mbps fibre line rental – uncapped data – R2 799 per month (R499 line rental for a total of R3 298 per month).
  • 100Mbps fibre line rental – 200GB of data – R2 500 per month (R699 line rental for a total of R3 199 per month).
  • 100Mbps fibre line rental – uncapped data – R5 900 per month (R699 line rental for a total of R6 599 per month).

But how does that stack up against the competitor ADSL and VDSL services offered by Telkom and the rest of South Africa’s ISPs?

Well ADSL lines have three costs with the actual phone rental, the ADSL line rental portion as well as the data costs to the ISP all adding together to form the final price. Many of the ISPs will handle the ADSL line rental as well as the data portion for you at a decreased price from what Telkom charges you saving you around R30 a month. For the calculations below we’ve used pricing from Afrihost for all of the packages to standardise the figures and 40Mbos VDSL has been used to compare to the 50Mpbs fibre product. While there are cheaper ISPs out there, many of them do not offer packages for 40Mbps VDSL so we went with Afrihost as a baseline.

  • 4Mbps ADSL – uncapped data – R166.50 (phone line rental) + R597 (ADSL line rental and data) = R763.50 per month.
  • 4Mbps ADSL – 100GB of data – R166.50 (phone line rental) + R458 (ADSL line rental and data) = R624.50 per month.
  • 40Mbps VDSL – uncapped data – R166.50 (phone line rental) + R1 018 (ADSL line rental and data) = R1 184.50 per month.
  • 40Mbps VDSL – 150GB of data – R166.50 (phone line rental) + R1 997 (ADSL line rental and data) = R2 163.50 per month.

As you can see the value for money argument is quite complex. In some cases, FTTH options being offered in Parkhurst are clear winners when compared to their ADSL/VDSL counterparts. In others, not.

There is also a quality factor to consider with fibre having inherently more stable speeds due to the nature of fibre based internet connections over copper based ones.

Unless something happens in the near future, though, it looks like Telkom is going to have a hard time selling ADSL lines in Parkhurst.

[Image – CC 2.0 Tim Pierce]