Telkom : Carte Blanche

BroadbandStarved

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Dec 20, 2005
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Person said:
that would have got out of control very very fast... just think of you where the people doing to interview. What type of Questions you would have asked.:eek:
I would have gone for the jugular :)
 

RichardP

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There should have been a panel interview.... DoC, Telkom,ICASA, SNO, Sentech, ISPA - all at the same table. A bit disapointed in content.....
Carte blanche should have shown more puppy dogs and fluffy things. Most non-ADSL people could not relate to the story.

Heavens above, thegovernment needs to keep 38% for 'Strategic purposes'... oh yes ... "for the people"
 

BroadbandStarved

Active Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2005
Messages
85
RichardP said:
There should have been a panel interview.... DoC, Telkom,ICASA, SNO, Sentech, ISPA - all at the same table. A bit disapointed in content.....
Carte blanche should have shown more puppy dogs and fluffy things. Most non-ADSL people could not relate to the story.

Heavens above, thegovernment needs to keep 38% for 'Strategic purposes'... oh yes ... "for the people"
[sarcasm]
But, according to government, making money is a 'Strategic purpose'!
[/sarcasm]
 

Yuu

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Or she was wondering if they were gonna serve her some doughnuts during the break :D LOL
 

Person

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BroadbandStarved said:
[sarcasm]
But, according to government, making money is a 'Strategic purpose'!
[/sarcasm]
its all about loacation location location... of where they officials can buy their new houses,:mad:
 

RichardP

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Please Government!!!! Dont sell your 38%!! if you do, a tsunami will hit us!! and I cant swim! Its 'Strategic!'

Telkom can do many things, but I dont think they can organise a tsunami just out of spite... they cant organise a piss-up in a brewery.
 

Highflyer_GP

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Jul 2, 2005
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RichardP said:
Please Government!!!! Dont sell your 38%!! if you do, a tsunami will hit us!! and I cant swim! Its 'Strategic!'

Telkom can do many things, but I dont think they can organise a tsunami just out of spite... they cant organise a piss-up in a brewery.
rofl the sad part is that if they read your post they probably wouldn't spot the sarcasm :D
 

Person

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James said:
Is anyone hosting a download of the show, I missed it :(
I have asked for the info to be sent to me, along with a DVD of the show. I'll upload it to docomputers.co.za for download once i get it.
 

Person

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For seventeen years Angela Lidgett Nelson lived in America where she took cheap telephone calls and Internet access for granted.

Three years ago Angela and her family came back to live in South Africa.

Angela Lidgett Nelson: 'Initially we stayed with a friend and she had Internet access.'

… Internet access that the family unwittingly used freely.

Angela: 'We didn't really talk to her about what sort of set-up she had on her billing. So the first two months, or the first month at least, we used it to get into the job market. So we had very high usage.'

Little did Angela and Kirk know that Internet costs in South Africa can be up to 2 000% more expensive than those in America.

Angela: 'At the end of the month she handed us a R1 000 bill, and we were so shocked.'

When they found their own home they signed up with Telkom Internet, but soon after that they moved house again

Angela: 'It took them three months to get a landline into our house and by that time they said, 'Do you want to activate a new account?' And I just said, 'No'. By that time I had had so many problems with them that I just said no, and I won't give them more money if I don't have to.'

So Angela had plugged into a familiar SA gripe… Telkom costs are too high and service levels way too low.

Devi Sankaree Govender (Carte Blanche presenter): 'We have one of the most expensive Internet services in the world, and you would think this means we have the best connection and the best service, but this is far from the case.'

In South Africa it takes 9.5 days to download 100GB of data at a cost of around R9000. You can achieve the same by flying to an Internet café in Hong Kong, download your 100GB in 13 minutes, and return to South Africa. It will take four days and it will cost R1 000 less.

The top Internet speed in South Africa is not only much slower, but it can be up to a thousand percent more expensive than other developing countries… and up to 2 000 percent more than the developed world.

Devi: 'Children in huts in South Korea are accessing the Internet from huts, and South African children can't download pictures for their projects. Why? Because it is too expensive.'

These costs force web designer Ilan Ossendryver to police his son's Internet use.

Ilan Ossendrywer (ICCreations.com): 'Take it easy; don't download, don't look at this because we are nearing our three GB limit. And for a kid, what is three GBs? It is a term.'

Ilan says the price of his Internet service not only stops his children downloading pictures for school projects, but it also limits his web design business.

Ilan: 'You have to bring down prices. I don't know what the political thinking of Telkom is, but it appears to be - pay more, less people on line, rather than 'pay less, more people on line.'

Telkom has a monopoly over all fixed line Internet access in the country, so you have to wonder why they feel the need to advertise.

Nevertheless, their latest ad is luring consumers to sign up for ADSL.

Devi: 'ADSL certainly seems to be the best way to go in terms of Internet access, but the question is, is it available in your area?'

Despite Telkom's promises, it wasn't available in Soweto when Dr Pupuma really needed to submit his patients' medical claims via the Internet.

Dr Pupuma: 'If you have got a slow line, it takes forever. You find that when you finish your day's work and you log on it may take anything from 45 minutes to two hours, depending on the volume that you have got. So that was a huge problem.'

He was excited when he heard about ADSL, but he was soon disappointed

Dr Pupuma: 'I thought Soweto - being a quite a hive and a growing business hub - it should have had coverage.'

Despite Telkom's marketing, it took extensive pressure from Soweto's small business community to get a mere five ADSL lines in the area.

Dr Pupuma: 'It took quite a while for them to come and put it together.'

Tebogo Kaas, Chairman of the Small, Medium and Micro Enterprise Forum in South Africa, has been crusading against lack of access to and the high cost of the Internet.

Tebogo Kaas (Chairman - SMME Forum): 'We have to look into those areas of concern for small business development. The price of telecommunication services is still very high and there is no prospect of it coming down soon enough. It doesn't bode well for SMME development.'

You may be forgiven for thinking that lack of access to the Internet is just a Soweto problem, but Sean Haynes has a business in Randburg and he's been trying to get ADSL for three months

Sean Hayes (D5 Marketing): 'They are saying now that it is going to take another 20 to 30 days. So what that tells me is that there are no lines in the area. But why does it take them thirty days to tell us that?'

Sean's marketing business is 80% dependent on the Internet. With no ADSL infrastructure in the area he has to use dial-up, which has tripled his Internet bill.

Sean: 'It actually pisses me off, to be perfectly honest. I just don't think that my company should be suffering because of Telkom. I think that they must get off their arses and do something about it. We have actually asked them, but we have no other choice unfortunately to actually help us. Every time we phone it is the same [answers], the same response.
And while Sean's bottom line is suffering, Telkom's isn't. Their monopoly helped them rake in R6.8-billion in profit last year. Meanwhile, Sean is still waiting.

Sean: 'A lady from Telkom - she said her name was Linda, I think - she actually said, 'We will tell you when we are ready'.'

And it's not just families and small businesses that are battling with high costs and access to the Internet, it's the whole country that is suffering.

It's impossible to find out how Telkom justifies all this because they're just not talking.

Devi: 'But despite Telkom's promises of placing the customer first, the company declined repeated requests to talk to Carte Blanche about the country's Internet situation - once again locking the public out.'

But it's not just the public that they are locking out, it's also any competition.

Telkom owns all of South Africa's fixed line communication.
The consumer suffers because all Internet providers have to use these fixed lines before they can provide homes and businesses with access to the Internet.
So Telkom can keep prices high and there's nothing anyone can do about it. Internet providers are at Telkom's mercy.
What's worse is that Telkom has it's own Internet service provider.

And, Ant Brooks, who represents all the country's other Internet players, says Telkom does not play fair.
Ant Brooks (Internet Service Provider Association): '… Even stealing customers. Every week we have an allegation from one of ISPA's members that one of their customers has applied for a high-speed line into their network, and shortly after applying for that line they will get a telephone call from somebody from Telkom saying, 'We would like to make you a counter offer. Have you actually signed a contract yet?'
On top of this, what many people don't know is that Telkom also controls our access to the global Internet through the Sat 3 under-sea cable. Critics say Telkom charges six to eight times what it should for this link to the world, and this is strangling the country.

Tebogo: 'When we are sitting in South Africa we are not only competing amongst ourselves, we are also competing with other nations out there who might very well be enjoying cheaper access via Sat 3.'

Ant: 'Perhaps the question is: Why is Telkom being allowed to charge more than anywhere else for such an essential service?'

So one of the reasons the country's Internet prices are so high is because Telkom is a monopoly with its own Internet service provider.

Reining Telkom in is ICASA's job. Paris Mashile is head of the country's Independent Communications Authority and he says they've got Telkom under control with their new ADSL regulations

Devi: 'What are you saying to Telkom now in terms of ADSL?'

Paris Mashile (Chairman -ICASA): 'Well, first and foremost, they must make sure that they provide quality of service, then they must make sure that their prices are affordable, failing which we move in and we say, 'You are an essential facility'.'

But the reality is ICASA doesn't have the resources to beat Telkom's legal department.

Ant: 'ICASA's legal department is smaller than Telkom's, which makes it very difficult for ICASA to tackle Telkom when Telkom disagrees with something ICASA is doing.'

Yet another reason the country's Internet prices are so high is because we have regulatory problems.

But to understand your high bills you also need to understand government's relationship with Telkom.

Tebogo: 'Certainly I wouldn't lay the blame at Telkom's door. The blame should be laid with the authorities, the regulatory authorities and government itself.'

In a weird conflict of interests, government actually owns 38% of Telkom.

Duncan McLeod (Associate Editor - Financial Mail): 'Government is earning large annual dividends from Telkom, and yet they have to set policy that will affect Telkom. Problematic.'

Award-winning Financial Mail journalist, Duncan McLeod, has repeatedly taken government to task on its stake in Telkom… a stake currently worth just over 30 billion rand… an investment certainly worth protecting.

Duncan: 'In an open market I think government would actually collect greater tax revenues because, in a competitive market the whole pie will grow.'
 

Person

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Devi: 'Should government then withdraw and sell off their shares to the various companies?'

Duncan: 'In my view, absolutely.'

Government recognises the challenges they are facing. Director General of Communications Lindall Shope Mafole agrees that prices are too high.

Lindall Shope Mafole (Director General): 'I think the main reason that it is expensive is because we do not have enough choice with respect to access to communication services.'

Where it becomes really confusing for consumers is that, besides Telkom, government owns wireless provider Sentech, it has an indirect 19% in Vodacom, 5% in MTN and 30% in the recently licensed second network operator.

Devi: 'If you look at Telkom, government has a 37% shareholding.'

Lindall: 'On behalf of the people of South Africa.'

Devi: 'If you look at Sentech, it is 100%'

Lindall: 'On behalf of the people of South Africa.'

Devi: 'Indirectly, there is also a 19% shareholding in Vodacom.'

Lindall and Devi: '… On behalf of the people of South Africa.'

Devi: 'And MTN.'

Lindall: 'Ja.'

Devi: 'The point I am making is, why does government continue to have such an interest in the telecommunications market?'

Lindall: 'It is government objective that all operators give a service to the people of South Afirca.'

But it's been ten years and South Africa has yet to benefit. Government gave Telkom an exclusive monopoly for five years until 2002 so they would build infrastructure into rural areas.

The reality is that local call prices went up 334%, and 70% of these new lines were disconnected.

Critics say the only answer is greater competition.

Devi: 'Why not just pull out and regulate it strongly… regulate it better than it is regulated now?'

Lindall: 'So that it is owned by private individuals, even though it is strategic?'

Devi: 'Yes. You could wave sticks at them and say, 'You are too expensive - make it cheaper'.'

Lindall: 'No. Especially in this day and age when security is such an issue, nobody is going to do that. The objective is to be able to use the infrastructure.'

Devi: 'But can't you just use it anyway, even if you are not a shareholder?'

Lindall: 'No you can't use it if you don't own it. You can't use it as it is required. You can't.'

Devi: 'Give me an example so that people watching this programme can understand.'

Lindall: 'You have the tsunami for example. The country's … one of the difficulties they had was the ability to use the communications infrastructure to warn people; the ability of the communications infrastructure to inform people. So if you have a private operator you have to pay. Just like if the government had no stake in the SABC, for example, you would have to pay. You can't just go to e-TV and say you need to do this… you have to do this if you are not a shareholder.'

Devi; 'But surely, if it is an issue of national concern, the various communications networks would certainly jump in and assist?'

Lindall: 'As a government you cannot take chances.'

Duncan: 'The tsunami? I think that we have disaster management legislation in place already. We have a disaster management centre in Pretoria. I am not sure if it is the role of the department of communications to worry about that. I think disaster management should rather be left to that body and that legislation.'

And yet another reason for our high Internet prices is because government's stake in Telkom is a conflict of interests.

Ant: 'In every other country where deregulation has happened, prices have not just dropped but plummeted.'

Security reasons aside, we have yet to hear from the second network operator. So how will our prices come down?

Duncan: 'There are a lot of developments happening. For example, there are plans to build a new submarine cable down the east coast of Africa that would compete with the SAT 3 system. That has the potential to bring down international bandwidth prices dramatically.'

So it looks as though Internet prices will come down when EASY is ready at the end of 2007. But that's a long way away for angry consumers still listening to Telkom's advertising.

Angela: 'I always say that they do business by default because we don't have a choice.'

Kirk: 'As South Africans, you are being abused, mistreated and ripped off by services providers on telephone, Internet, banking.'

Sean: 'The only people benefiting here are Telkom. What about us? We would like to be out there making a lot of money and we are being hindered in our operations. We are being slowed down effectively by big parastatals in this country.'

Devi: 'The Electronic Communications Bill was passed by parliament in December last year. It's currently with Thabo Mbeki's legal advisers.'

This Bill promises to bring down the cost of telecommunications quickly by finally making way for real competition by granting more network licences.

Lindall: 'With the new Bill anybody who wants to put out a network and provide communication services will be able to do so. So you have an opportunity to apply for communication and network services.'

Devi: 'But is it going to necessarily mean that people in rural areas are going to have cheap and affordable access to the Internet?'

Lindall: 'Yes, rural people will be able to have access to communications?'

Devi: 'When?'

Lindall: 'Soon… very soon.'

Devi [to Duncan]: 'What advice do you have for consumers currently?'

Duncan: 'Don't lock yourself into a long contract. Some operators are selling 24 or even 36 month broadband contracts - don't do that.'

Devi [to Lindall]: 'People are going to hold onto this. After watching this programme they are going to say, 'Finally here is the answer - give it a year and things are going to get better'. The hope is that that is in fact going to happen.'

Lindall: 'It is going to happen.'

Devi: 'See you in a year…'

Lindall: 'Absolutely.'

http://www.carteblanche.co.za/Display/Display.asp?Id=3051
 
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