South Africa’s broadband speeds and prices are still lagging behind the rest of the world, especially when looking at fixed broadband access.
One of the biggest problems in the country is the low fixed broadband penetration rate – especially when looking at fibre access.
Point Topic’s latest global fixed broadband report shows there are now more subscribers to fibre broadband services worldwide than any other fixed broadband technology.
In not much more than 10 years, fibre has made it to over 285 million subscribers – earning a 40% market share.
In South Africa, most fixed broadband subscribers only have access to 10Mbps ADSL at best, and in some cases only 4Mbps.
This raises the question: What should be done to improve the state of fixed broadband in South Africa?
MyBroadband asked South Africa’s top ISPs what they would like to see happen in 2016 to boost fixed broadband.
Web Africa – Lower IPC pricing and naked ADSL
Web Africa said it wants to see lower IPC pricing from Openserve, the introduction of naked ADSL, and an arm’s-length relationship between Telkom’s Retail and Wholesale Divisions.
The ISP said there are skill shortages for many technical roles, and that government subsidies pertaining to education for these technical roles would go a long way to decrease unemployment and help companies fill important positions.
Afrihost – Assist in the growth of fibre in South Africa
Afrihost said the demand for fibre is growing at a rapid pace, and they would like to see the government assisting Telkom in rolling out fibre faster and to more areas.
They would also like to see the government stimulating the local telecoms industry to allow more fibre players to emerge, which will help the sector grow.
MWEB – Do not overburden ISPs with new regulations
MWEB said the government should be careful not to overburden Internet service providers with new regulations. The Cybercrimes Bill, FPB Amendment Bill, and POPI are examples.
They are onerous in terms of what they are proposing ISPs need to implement, and for many of the smaller players it is not affordable to comply.
“It will be a sad day if one of the side effects of introducing all of these new regulations is that it puts some ISPs out of business.”
Cybersmart – The government should get out of the telecoms and broadband business
Cybersmart said it would be good for the government to sell its stake in Telkom, and stop trying to provide broadband. “Leave it to the private sector.”
The ISP would also like to see a lower burden regarding regulation and legislation on ISPs, and faster permissions to trench fibre.
Axxess – Local loop unbundling should become a reality
Axxess said that local loop unbundling is its primary concern right now.
It would like to see this become a reality in 2016.
Note: Axxess won the MyBroadband Best ADSL ISP of 2015 award.
Crystal Web – Simplify the regulatory space
Crystal Web would like to see a simplification of the regulatory space and a reversal of policy flow.
“Rather than having a top-down approach to policy direction, government should ensure that policies are driven from the ground-up, as we know and understand better what is required to ensure a quality telecommunications future in the country.”
Crystal Web would also like to see the government distancing itself from its potential invasion of privacy of end users’ connections.
“If an end user is acting illegally, recourse already exists. If government wants to better streamline this process, we’re in support of it. If government wishes to snoop on an end-user’s connection by law and force ISPs to do its legwork, we take issue.”