Padayachie wants local loop unbundled - TechCentral

Padayachie wants local loop unbundled

Communications minister Roy Padayachie and deputy minister Obed Bapela

Newly appointed communications minister Roy Padayachie wants to ensure the “local loop”, the so-called “last mile” of copper cables that connect consumers to Telkom’s network, is unbundled within 12 months.

Padayachie says unbundling the local loop is a “critical and important intervention”.

“In this regard, we will work closely with Icasa [the Independent Communications Authority of SA]to ensure that the local loop is unbundled by November 2011,” he says.

Padayachie was speaking at his first media conference since being appointed last week, replacing Siphiwe Nyanda, who was sacked by President Jacob Zuma at the end of last month.

“Digital technologies such as broadband are increasingly becoming an instrument to achieve national development goals,” Padayachie says.

He says the department will work on an integrated national broadband plan to ensure the country has an “efficient, competitive and responsive ICT infrastructure”, which he says is “critical to propel SA into a knowledge-based economy”.

“This would require that government continue to implement a programme to ensure the liberalisation of the ICT sector in order to promote competition.”  — Duncan McLeod, TechCentral


  1. “Padayachie says his department will “work closely with Icasa to ensure that the local loop is unbundled by November 2011”.”

    This will be the biggest issues 😉

  2. What a great first press conference by Padayachie! The setting of a date and his general tone seems to indicate that this is not just another half-hearted commitment.

    However, I’m interested to know whether Telkom will be able to slow the process down by taking legal action?

  3. @Nick,
    I think you got it wrong here. Telkom is in fact “walking away” from its monopoly of the local loop, which should leave those who’ve been fighting to lay their hands on it, wondering …

  4. @Max, I realise that unbundling the local loop will result in Telkom having to allow competitors access to it. What I am concerned about it that (as I understand it) currently own this local loop, and thus they may have some legal case for not allowing the DoC to open it up to competitors.

    Anyone more knowledgeable – please correct or explain in more detail!

  5. At long last. Expect certain factions to put up extremely heavy resistance to this move.

  6. Unbundling the local loop is definitely a step in the right direction from the consumer’s and the country’s point of view, but copper should not be thought of as the only alternative available to end-users. There are other technologies and service providers who would be happy to provide their applications to customers. The trick will be to aggregate sufficient customer needs (smart grids, healthcare, security, distant learning, etc.) at each individual end-user location to warrant the expense of utilizing the last mile right-of-way with whatever technology medium is chosen. There are new business models being pursued around the world aimed at shoring up lackluster growth in the telecommunications sector.

  7. Absolutely the LLU rules should be technology-neutral, which means that mobile operators must be included in the sharing/leasing rules. It will be tremendously difficult, but the advancement of competition and safeguarding of prices completely depends on putting out the cost model to serve as the basis for what carriers can charge each other.

    Expect lots of complaints when the model is unveiled, whatever it is- Telkom and the other incumbents must defend their shareholders, and nothing will be deemed “fair”. But if entrants don’t have the “stick” to wield at unfair colocation or interconnection prices, no one will want to expand service anywhere, much less rural areas, poorer districts, etc. Your marvellous country needs five times the BB penetration that you currently have in just fixed lines- and that’s only for starters.

  8. Yayyyyy at bloody last. The simple answer (for those who do not know) is that local loop is what is referred to in South Africa as the last mile connection.

    Once th exchange is opened up so that otther companies canput thier OWN equipment in they willno longer be FORCED to use Telkom as that last mile. So no legal problems as they willnot be using Telkoms own equipment any more YAYYYY!! Cell-C, Vodaphone, MTN , and anyone else will have access to be able to put in their own stuff.

    Extra jobs, bigger and better for the economy….YAAYYYYY

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