Internet Service Providers: A complete guide on what to expect.

17 March 2022

Today, we use the internet for everything. The Digital Age is here to stay, which is why getting a comprehensive internet solution is key to staying connected with the world, and the latest trends. But before taking a look at internet solutions, you need to look at – and ultimately choose – an internet service provider (ISP).

But what are they? What do they do, and how do you choose the right one? Fear not! Best Internet is here to answer all your burning questions (and some you may not have thought of) about internet service providers. We've done all the research for you – so keep scrolling for our guide on what you can expect from internet providers.

What are internet service providers?

An internet service provider (ISP) is a company that provides internet access to both personal and business customers — making it possible for people to browse the world wide web, shop online, conduct business, and stay connected with family and friends for a monthly fee.

An ISP can also offer other services such email services, business domain registration and web hosting. These services are offered through a variety of different connections – Fibre, LTE and ADSL.

Basically, everything you do on the internet goes through your ISP.

Wait, can they see my browsing history too?

To keep it simple – yes, they can.

ISPs can see everything you do online. They're able to track which websites you visit, how much time you spend on these sites, the device you use and your geographic location.
You may be thinking, "So my ISP stalks me online?!" Well, yes and no... we're certain there isn't someone sitting behind a desk watching every click you make — but it doesn't mean your browsing history is not getting stored somewhere on their systems.

To ISPs, your browsing history is a revenue opportunity. They're able to build a consumer profile based on your internet activity. This data can be used by third party companies to target products and services that you may be interested in.

Ever wondered how something you were looking at on suddenly showed up as a feature advert on one of your social media pages? Well, now you know why.

How many internet service providers are there in SA?

There are hundreds of ISPs in South Africa offering internet solutions at varying speeds and connection types. But, the availability of these ISPs is dependent on your location. For example, Durban may have access to 50 internet providers while Johannesburg and Cape Town could have access to 150 and 200 providers respectively.

Check out our Coverage Map to see how many ISPs are available in your area.

Who is the fastest internet provider?

We've done the research, and according to our results these are the ISPs with the fastest internet speeds:

  • RSA Web
  • Vox
  • MTN
  • Telkom
  • Supersonic

Check out some of the deals they offer here.

Which internet provider has the best customer ratings?

According to MyBroadband's South African ISP Rankings report, RSA Web takes the crown in terms of customer ratings with an 81% Customer Satisfaction Rating.

Lower down the ranks, we see Vox, Vodacom and Supersonic with 68% - but they are still within the top ten.

How do I choose my internet provider?

Choosing an ISP isn't as easy as choosing which restaurant to eat at, there are heaps of factors to consider before making your choice. Knowing exactly what you're looking for can help you narrow down your options. Keep these in mind when choosing your internet provider:

What speed do you need?

Do you stream content all the time? Are you an online gamer or work-from-homer?
If you answered yes, then you may require a higher internet speed. Knowing what speed you need can help you determine what type of internet packages you should be looking at.

What internet connection type do you need?

There are three main internet connection types available – Fibre, LTE and DSL.

Fibre is ideal for those looking for a high-speed, reliable connection. However, Fibre is a relatively new connection in SA so it is not as widely available as LTE and DSL.

Use our Coverage Map to see if there are Fibre deals available in your area.

LTE is ideal for people who are on-the-go and travel a lot, since this connection will be able to move around with you.

ADSL is ideal for someone who owns their own home and has a fixed landline. While not as fast as Fibre or LTE, ADSL is widely available.

Check the coverage of the internet providers in your area.

You know what internet speed and connection type you're after, the next step is to research internet providers and see how good their signal is in your area.

You could be paying for a high-speed internet package, but if the provider's signal is weak in your area, you wouldn't necessarily be getting the internet speed you paid for.

Get connected with the right ISP on Best Internet

Now that you have all the tools and information you need about internet service providers, you can go forth and feel confident when choosing the right provider, and the best deal, for you.

See Best Internet’s range of speedy, affordable providers, and filter by location, price, speed and type.