Telkom backs down over broadband trial - TechCentral

Telkom backs down over broadband trial

Telkom’s Bashier Sallie

Telkom has agreed to allow rival Internet service providers to participate in trials to test its speedier broadband fixed-line network. This followed criticism from the Internet Service Providers’ Association (Ispa), an industry body, in which it suggested that the operator’s decision to restrict the tests to its own TelkomInternet provider could be seen as anticompetitive.

Service providers MWeb, Internet Solutions, Web Africa and Cybersmart will join the trial, which offers consumers broadband download speeds of up to 40Mbit/s in areas where Telkom has deployed new network infrastructure to support this.

The tests are being conducted in Sandton and Fourways in Johannesburg, Waterkloof in Pretoria, Durbanville in Cape Town and in Durban North.

“Our engagement with Ispa and its members was very constructive,” Telkom wholesale and networks MD Bashier Sallie says in a statement. “We have agreed on key conditions that will ensure the original intent and timelines of the pilot are met.”

Ispa co-chair Jaap Scholten says the association met with Telkom earlier this month and the fixed-line operator outlined its objectives for the pilot and the telephone exchange areas which will be covered. “A pilot sample was derived in order to meet the strict timelines, thus enabling Telkom to control and manage the pilot process.”

Telkom says the agreement means “certain of the other ISPs’ customers will now be eligible to experience the higher speeds for the duration of the pilot”. The pilot will run until the end of January 2013.

Ispa had warned earlier this month, before its engagement with Telkom, that it was surprised that the company had adopted an exclusive approach given the recent Competition Tribunal judgment against it for anticompetitive behaviour. Telkom was fined R449m, although it has said it will appeal against the tribunal’s decision.  — (c) 2012 NewsCentral Media

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