While many Internet service providers and consumers are keen to see a Naked DSL product from Telkom, commercial pressures may prevent it from launching in the near future.
However, while Naked ADSL is seen as a way to drive down prices, Telkom’s fibre-to-the-home service is being touted by some as a Naked ADSL replacement.
Openserve (formerly Telkom Wholesale) is offering ISPs Wholesale Fibre Broadband Access – a stand-alone fibre access service without an associated compulsory voice service.
This means that ISPs purchase the service at a wholesale rate from Openserve, bundle their data products with it, and sell a full FTTH solution to consumers.
Telkom’s FTTH product is a better version of Naked DSL
Cybersmart CEO Laurie Fialkov said Telkom has, through its Wholesale Fibre Broadband Access service, already launched Naked DSL.
Webafrica’s head of connectivity Greg Wright said that a Naked ADSL service may result in a significant revenue loss for Telkom due to analogue line cancellations.
However, Telkom’s reliance on analogue line rental will decrease as more customers move to FTTH, which has a higher monthly price.
“A telephony service is not mandatory on FTTH, but there is revenue protection for them as fibre lines are more expensive than ADSL lines,” said Wright.
Wright expects Telkom to launch a Naked DSL service when it becomes commercially viable, with the objective of growing its ADSL base and then converting them to fibre.
MWEB CEO Derek Hershaw said Telkom should launch a Naked DSL service, possibly starting on higher line speeds (like VDSL) where it has a higher margin to play with.
Telkom’s move from DSL to FTTH
Telkom’s move from copper-based DSL to fibre is illustrated by its new FTTH trial, where thousands of DSL users across South Africa will be migrated to the broadband technology free of charge.
DSL customers within Telkom’s fibre footprint will be given the opportunity to upgrade their copper-based connectivity to its fibre network.
“DSL customers who are currently on 2Mbps, 4Mbps, and 8Mbps DSL products can now, for no extra charge, move across to the more stable and reliable fibre network,” said Telkom.