Telkom will accelerate the roll-out of new-generation technologies in its access network to deliver faster broadband over digital subscriber lines to consumers.
That’s the word from Telkom SA MD Nombulelo Moholi, who was speaking to TechCentral on the sidelines of the group’s presentation in Sandton of its interim financial results for the six months to 30 September 2010.
Moholi says Telkom is planning to step up the deployment of Metro Ethernet, replacing ageing systems that still use the Asynchronous Transfer Mode protocol.
The idea is speed up migration from ADSL to newer ADSL2+ technology, providing faster line speeds to consumers.
Already, Telkom has begun offering 10Mbit/s broadband in some of its telephone exchanges. Moholi wants to step up this roll-out and offer even faster speeds in the future.
ADSL2+ is capable of theoretical speeds of up to 24Mbit/s.
The increased pace of investment comes in spite of comments earlier this month by communications minister Roy Padayachie that Telkom’s local loop must be unbundled within a year. Unbundling will give Telkom’s rivals access to the last-mile of copper cables into people’s homes.
Moholi says whatever decisions are made about unbundling, they mustn’t discourage investment in the local loop.
“We’ve already started on this roll-out programme, but we want to accelerate it,” she says.
The company is also continuing to lay fibre-optic cables closer to subscribers’ premises — into the blue and green cabinet boxes that line city streets. This allows it to offer faster speeds over ADSL. However, there are no immediate plans to offer fibre directly to the home.
Moholi says it’s not feasible to offer fibre to the home in SA, where people are spread out over large distances. It makes more sense in markets where population densities are high.
Telkom also has no plans right now to react to MWeb‘s offer of uncapped broadband. “But,” she says, “that’s not to say the product management guys won’t come up with a plan in the near future.”
“We have to create a value proposition that makes sense financially.” — Duncan McLeod, TechCentral