At Webafrica we often get asked the following two questions by our customers:
“What’s the difference between an ISP and an Infrastructure Provider?”
“If you are my internet provider, why do you use other companies?”
Our CEO, Tim, summed it up pretty nicely for us the other day when he said,
“They build the highway and we drive the cars”
This is the long and short of it:
an Infrastructure Provider is a company who builds the infrastructures that carry internet bandwidth. These include various different kinds of the internet, namely, Fibre, LTE and ADSL.
The infrastructure provider most South Africans are familiar with is Telkom. They put in all the copper phone lines for your land line back in the day. When the internet became accessible to private homes they put in the ADSL lines that would become the standard in most households for many years to come.
A Fibre infrastructure provider will build the fibre network in your area. They dig up the street, lay the glass-like fibre cables and make sure that this physical resource is maintained.
LTE-A which most of you will know is wireless internet, is brought to you by companies such as RAIN and Cell C. They build the reception towers and ensure that they are working and connected.
So what’s an ISP?
An ISP is an “Internet Service Provider“.
We provide you with the actual internet that runs over those infrastructures. We drive the cars on the road that the infrastructure provider built.
Our mission is to get you connected online as quickly and easily as possible. That’s why we partner with multiple providers. To be able to provide internet to as many people as possible in as many areas as possible.
We, the ISP, ensure that you receive your allocated data, the hardware you need to connect (such as routers and modems) and that your service runs smoothly.
Webafrica has a relationship with the different providers in your area so that we can act as the go-between and deal with any orders, or any issues that may arise, on your behalf.
We also negotiate the best deals with them so that we can offer the best deals to you, and we communicate the needs of our customers and potential customers to the infrastructure providers so that they can plan their next steps with you in mind.
That, in a nutshell, is the difference between an ISP and an infrastructure provider.