12 Mbps ADSL upgrades trialed

Telkom is currently trialing an 8 Mbps ADSL service, but speeds may be bumped up to as high as 12 Mbps

By - January 24, 2010
12 Mbps ADSL upgrades trialed

MyBroadband earlier reported that Telkom is trialing an 8 Mbps ADSL service, with plans to upgrade current 4 Mbps subscribers in the next few months.  8 Mbps is however the minimum speed upgrade, and if subsequent DSL2+ trials prove successful speed upgrades of up to 12 Mbps are possible.

Telkom Wholesale’s Mike Vos recently explained that as part of the trials, which are conducted in Pretoria and Cape Town, the percentage of 4 Mbps subscribers which can sync at higher speeds without any service problems are recorded.  The results so far have been very promising.

In Pretoria Central and Constantia Park – the two first trial areas – around 99% of 4 Mbps ADSL subscribers synced at 8 Mbps without any stability problems.  These results were so encouraging that Telkom will now conduct similar tests at 10 Mbps and 12 Mbps and assess the upgrade success rate at these higher speeds.

If the success rate of the 10 Mbps or 12 Mbps also proves to be sufficiently high, Telkom said that it may decide to upgrade 4 Mbps ADSL subscribers to the higher speed profiles if their line quality is good enough.  Uplink speeds will be in the region of 10% of the downlink speed – hence around 1 Mbps for a 10 Mbps ADSL service – but these speeds will also be dependent on line quality.

Vos explained that if a subscribers’ line quality is not good enough to support a stable 8 Mbps (or 12 Mbps in the case of higher speed upgrades) service, they will be assigned the highest possible speed where the connection is stable and will provide a good quality of service.  This will happen in speed profile increments of 1 Mbps each (hence 7 Mbps, 6 Mbps, 5 Mbps etc).

Not all at once

Telkom however explained that not all 4 Mbps subscribers will be part of the first set of upgrades, which is set to take place in the next few months.  Only ADSL subscribers who are served by suitable DSLAMs – which are connected to Telkom’s Metro Ethernet network and have the latest DSL2+ equipment – will be upgraded.

These restrictions may seem petty to some ADSL users, but Telkom explains that they want to be certain that the overall experience of their ‘highest speed’ broadband customers are what they expect.  This means adequate backhaul bandwidth and the flexibility to quickly and affordably assign more bandwidth if needed, which Metro Ethernet makes possible (as opposed to ATM which does not provide the same flexibility and affordability).

Telkom plans to have 30% to 40% of DSLAMs, which are currently serving 4 Mbps ADSL subscribers, ready by March/April and are aiming to increase this figure to 60% by August/September. 

Good news for current Telkom 4 Mbps ADSL subscribers is that the speed upgrade is likely to be free, and it will be an automatic upgrade without the need to contact Telkom.

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