Who Is Who in Fibre: Operators, ISPs and Resellers

With the number of companies offering internet packages today, you’ve probably found yourself asking who is who in the scheme of things, and who would best serve your needs. As a leading network operator and ISP in South Africa, MetroFibre Networx has a few pointers to help you work out who is who in fibre.

Fibre Network Operators: The backbone of internet services 

Fibre Network Operators (FNO) build and own the physical infrastructure that is used to deliver fibre to the home or business. FNO’s will trench and deploy fibre optic cables in the ground, this is known as “Layer 1” or physical layer. FNO’s will maintain the physical infrastructure of their network and repair faults affecting the transmission of data.
 
After the physical fibre cables or dark fibre is in place, the next step is “lighting” the fibre which is called “Layer 2” or data link layer. This layer caters for the encoding and decoding of light into data as well as managing data errors resulting from the physical layer.

ISPs: Providing you with internet access

Internet Service Providers (ISP) utilises the abovementioned Fibre Network Operator’s infrastructure through the Network Layer or Layer 3. This allows your ISP to offer internet services through the operator’s network. The role that ISP’s fulfil is to provide consumers with a customer centric service offering. Network Operators therefore extend the use of their network for the benefit of the end users, thus making the network “open access”.
 
The benefit for you, as the end user, is that you can choose the ISP that best suits your needs (such as the optimal support and services offered by ISPs with access to and knowledge of the infrastructure).

Resellers: White label partners

 Resellers form a part of the sales pipeline. The resellers who work with MetroFibre Networx are carefully selected and have the responsibility of signing up estates, assisting with project co-ordination, facilitating the execution of orders and billing their end user. While most people think of the reseller as just the ‘middle-man’, the reseller is responsible for handling customer service throughout and after the delivery process will provide after sales support.

Comprehensive Providers: Operators as ISPs

Although there is a difference between operators and ISPs, there are some companies that fulfil both these roles. MetroFibre Networx, for example, is both a network operator and an ISP. MetroFibre Networx provides ISP services on its own network, and extend open access network services to approved ISP partners. This means that should you have any disruption to your service, you can go straight to the source to have the problem solved. So you get optimal service with timely responses to technical difficulties.

Conclusion: What this all means

Looking at the roles of operators, ISPs and resellers, it makes sense of how there are so many companies offering the same services in the same areas. The advantages of having the operator in your area as an ISP are also quite clear, with great service and more immediate access to services and assistance. If you still have questions about what is right for you, feel free to contact us and our professional staff will be happy to help.