Press Release:

Two FNOs move up, four FNOs move down & smaller operators praised by ISPs

Published on: 2024-04-25

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Internet industry association ISPA has released the results of its most recent Fibre Network Operator (FNO) perception survey and they indicate slipping confidence in FNOs.

The survey measures the views of the internet industry association’s members on SA’s many FNOs and some 50 Internet Service Providers (ISPs) participated in the February 2024 poll.

ISPA’s members were asked to rate the FNOs they do business with across eleven criteria, on a scale of 0 to 10. The previous survey took place in August 2023.

ISPs’ views of Link Africa and Liquid Intelligent Networks have improved the most in the last six months. Opinions on Metrofibre and Octotel have remained positive, while the scores for Frogfoot, Openserve, Vumatel and Dark Fibre Africa have all dropped.

Fibre Network Operator Ave. score (Aug 2023) Ave. score (Feb 2024) Change
Metrofibre 6.8 6.9 +0.1
Link Africa 5.9 6.8 +0.9
Octotel 6.8 6.5 -0.3
Openserve 7.0 6.1 -0.9
Liquid Intelligent Networks 4.7 5.9 +1.2
Frogfoot 6.3 5.3 -1.0
Vumatel 6.0 5.2 -0.8
Dark Fibre Africa 5.8 5.0 -0.8
Average 6.2 6.0 -0.2

The two top-rated FNOs also dominated the rankings for the individual metrics, with Metrofibre scoring highest for technical proficiency (7.5), communications (6.9), friendliness of staff (7.9), business processes (7.4), software systems (6.9), and optimism (6.7), while Link Africa excelled in value for money (7.8) and open access principles (7.9). Despite slipping significantly in the overall ratings, Openserve retained top spot for reliability (7.9). Octotel remained the FNO with the best support for ISPs (7.1). The two networks that ISPs were most likely to recommend to other ISPs were Metrofibre and Liquid Intelligent Networks (tied at 6.4).
Overall, ISPA noted that ISPs’ confidence in their FNOs has slipped slightly since August, with the annual average of all FNOs dropping by 0.2 points to 6.0. The lowest scoring criteria overall are:

  • optimism about whether an FNO will improve in the future (5.5),
  • support provided to ISPs by FNOs (5.4), and
  • the likelihood of recommending a particular FNO to another ISP (5.3).

FNOs hoping to improve their score in the future should consider streamlining the support they provide to ISPs making sure they have processes and staff capacity to resolve common issues, such as the difficulties consumers face when trying to migrate lines between ISPs.

For the February survey, ISPs were given the opportunity to provide freeform feedback to each FNO. This feedback unexpectedly revealed the importance of FNOs’ account managers. ISPs with a good account manager tended to rate that FNO far more positively, while those with a less skilled account manager were much more critical towards that FNO overall.

ISPA used the release of the February survey results to highlight the number of smaller FNOs providing services to ISPs. The internet industry association notes that although only nine operators were rated by a significant number of ISPs, there were another 23 networks included in the ratings. Despite being ranked by fewer ISPs, some of those networks did very well, with Evotel (7.5) and Zoom Fibre (7.4) achieving higher averages than all of the large networks. Lightspeed (6.7), Lightstruck (6.5), Thinkspeed (6.3) and Seacom FibreCo (6.2) also fared well. ISPA encourages ISPs who aren’t yet connected to those networks to consider expanding their coverage footprints with new partners.

The full table of results for all of the networks surveyed is published on the ISPA website here. FNOs who would like the additional details for their networks are encouraged to contact the ISPA Secretariat.

Finally, ISPA continues to engage with its members and FNOs to develop a set of FNO and ISP Best Practice Recommendations that will ultimately ensure that FNOs and ISPs work together to deliver seamless, cost-effective fibre-based internet.

See previous surveys here: FNO Perception Surveys.

Further Information

For further information, please contact the ISPA secretariat on the Contact ISPA page.