What is an ONT box and who owns it?


What is an ONT box?

An ONT box or Optical Network Terminal, sometimes called a CPE (Customer Premises Equipment) is where the fibre optic cable ends denoting the service demarcation point of the FNO (Fibre Network Operator) like Vuma, Octotel or MetroFibre Networx. After that, the ISP, like RocketNet, steps into service for the customer. From RocketNet, this service includes a delivered router matching the client’s fibre speed.

How an ONT box gets installed

Installing an ONT box involves a collaboration between the FNO and the customer. Once the fibre-optic cables are laid out and connected to the customer’s home, a technician from the FNO will install the box at a suitable location on the property. 

The technician will connect the incoming fibre-optic cable to the ONT box and establish the necessary power and network connections. A router then connects to the box to bring WiFi throughout the home.

Do I need an ONT box and a router?

Generally, yes, but some ONT boxes may include built-in WiFi routers.

Why the box should not be removed

South Africa’s Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA) advises home and business fibre customers to check with their ISP before removing any fibre equipment. This can be the case, for example, while moving house.  

Importance of not removing the box

“Customers must understand the ONT box installed on their property belongs to the FNO and should not be removed under any circumstance”, advises Warren Thomas, our Chief of Marketing and Customer Care Champion. 

He highlights a few important reasons why customers should refrain from tampering with or removing the ONT box:

Ownership and Maintenance

“The ONT box is the property of the FNO, and their responsibility to maintain and repair it. Removing or tampering with the box may result in service disruptions and can violate the terms of service agreement with the FNO”.

Service Provisioning

“The FNO uses the ONT box to deliver and manage various services, including internet and VOIP (voice over IP). Removing the box may render these services useless, leading to lost connectivity”.

Troubleshooting and Support

“In case of service issues or technical difficulties, the FNO relies on the ONT box for troubleshooting purposes. Removing the box can hinder the FNO’s ability to identify and resolve potential problems”.

Security and Upgrades

“The ONT box may contain security features that protect the customer’s network and ensure the services’ integrity”. 

Furthermorecustomers should know that the fibre cabling is susceptible and easily damaged.

Who fits the bill for a removed box?

Due to the proliferation of customers removing the ONT Box, many FNOs invoice ISPs like us for missing or damaged equipment. So, please help us to keep them intact. 

Check with us if you are not sure about your fibre equipment

We admit things can get confusing as the ONT and router could be the same device, and sometimes, one fibre cable could be connected to two ONT devices.

If you need more clarification, please reach out to us. Checking with the ISP is the best decision for vacating tenants, former owners and others.