Speaking at the 2012 MyBroadband Conference, Lewis said that there are five ISPs (Telkom Internet, MWEB, Web Africa, Cybersmart and Internet Solutions) which form part of the trial and which will feed information to Telkom’s wholesale division.
Lewis said that the trial is aimed at doing the technical testing, making sure the IT systems work and to test the support systems.
Telkom is in the process of rolling out 3,700 multi-service access nodes (MSANs) that will replace 2,700 older generation cabinets and add another 1,000 to their number.
Good feedback from trial users
According to Lewis the feedback has been very good so far, with end users getting downlink speeds of up to 40Mbps.
It is not only the “upgraded” clients which are benefiting from Telkom’s MSAN network renewal. Lewis said that existing ADSL clients in areas where the network has been upgraded have also reported better speeds.
“It is definitely a superior technology [MSAN network] which will make a huge difference to broadband in South Africa,” said Lewis.
Lewis said that the pilot will guide Telkom on how and where the company will roll out its MSAN network.
While Lewis said that there is no firm date for the launch of commercial 40Mbps services, it is likely to happen in 2013.
Fibre starting to make sense
Telkom’s new MSAN network can support copper based DSL services as well as fibre connections, and according to Lewis using fibre as a last mile technology is starting to make sense in some areas.
Lewis said that some high rise buildings (like high income flats) and Greenfield deployments justify the investment in last mile fibre infrastructure.
He added that the company is also considering replacing old copper infrastructure with fibre in areas where it makes sense.