The Internet Service Providers Association (Ispa), which representing many of South African’s ISPs, has criticised fibre network operators (FNOs) for making it difficult to switch internet providers.
In a statement on Monday, Ispa said some FNOs are proving to be a “stumbling block” for consumers changing from one ISP to another.
“Many FNOs have inadequate procedures for fibre customers to change from one ISP to another, causing them to experience billing problems or extended periods without internet access,” the association said.
“Many fibre customers already have limited choices because only one fibre network operates in their area,” said Ispa chairman Sasha Booth-Beharilal. “This makes it even more important for FNOs to ensure that customers have a choice of ISP and can seamlessly move between ISPs should they choose to do so.”
The association blamed FNO’s “insufficient or overly cumbersome” processes for handling migrations between service providers. It did not name any of the FNOs with which ISPs have had these issues.
“Some do not notify ISPs when lines are in process of being migrated. Others have errors in their geodata that can cause an innocent bystander to be disconnected when someone nearby orders a new line. When FNOs do make mistakes, the process to reconnect a customer can take several days and responses to ISPs trying to help end users are slow.
“Ispa believes consumers would benefit if FNOs paid more attention to their processes for line migrations, and encourages FNOs to work with their ISPs and with Ispa to improve how migrations are handled. Ispa intends to publish a set of best-practice recommendations for the fibre sector soon.”
Booth-Beharilal said, however, that FNOs are not always the cause of a problem. “Sometimes it is the customer or their ISP that causes a troubled transfer. Customers forget to cancel their services when moving out, leaving a new tenant struggling to get online. ISPs, like FNOs, sometimes get addresses wrong, which can result in another ISP’s customers going offline.” — © 2023 NewsCentral Media