What is Open Access?

gripen

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So various people talk about Open Access for FTTH and how important it is. What is the SA standard definition of this? It seems there is only some level of regulation for xDSL but none for FTTH (yet). Are some of the claimed Open Access networks actually still restricted (i.e. Selective Access or something). Is a Closed Access network such a bad thing?

We have Telkom's xDSL network - is this an Open Access network? I would say it mostly is - while you may be forced to go with Telkom for the underlying xDSL network, you can choose who supplies your Line and Data separately or bundle. You can also use multiple ISPs at the same time should you want to (like when you get capped, you can shop around for another ISP - short term or in parrallel). There are some limitations though - like Static IPs, no IPv6

If one analyses the various websites, articles, information freely available and on the MyBB forums, the following comparison is possible:

Telkom FTTH - same as the xDSL network over IPConnect so by definition, as above, is Open Access.

Vumatel + ISPs - is this full Open Access? Yes, you can choose between ISPs but how open is it really? Can you easily switch ISPs or use different ISPs at the same time? Do the ISPs control your session end-to-end? Are Static IPs assigned or possible? Do you use the Vumatel CPE always or do you need another device if you want to customise your options (like using routed vs bridged modes for xDSL)

Linkafrica/Frogfoot + ISPs - is this one full Open Access? Same questions as Vumatel above.

Metrofibre-Greencom - Closed access

MTN FTTH - Closed Access but claimed to be Open Access but is it? In the present model, as per MTN's website it is Closed access with fixed packages

Vodacom FTTH - Closed Access but same as MTN, supposed to be Open Access according to some reports - but how will/does it work? No ISP packages available as yet.

123Net - Closed access

Cybersmart Lightspeed - Open access but no ISP packages defined

Smartvillage FTTH - Open access? (yes, as per http://mybroadband.co.za/news/telecoms/78230-smart-village-ftth-network-opened-to-isps.html but no packages)

Feel free to correct me if I have any of the above incorrect or if I omitted some FTTH operators.

Can we get an official MyBB comparison or article going? Maybe even a poll of most loved FTTH provider/model taking all the Open Access criteria into account (still early days though to be fair to the FTTH providers).

Anyone on Linkafrica/Frogfoot or Vumatel can maybe explain just how Open these are?

Another question: how important is Open Access if the price is low i.e. 123NET - Opinions? I still think in that case the network needs to be Open Access. The competitive playground should be evened out.

How do we define Open Access?
Perhaps:
1. Choice of any ISP
2. Allow concurrent ISPs on the same fibre (like with DSL where you can do bridging)
3. Month to Month contracts or no contract at all
4. Static IP and/or IPv6 address assignment possible
5. Full access to the ONT / CPE device (don't need to add multiple devices for each ISP)
6. Possible to buy the FTTH access from one entity and the data service from another
7. More than 2 ISP's packages supported to qualify as Open Access (eliminates the MTN+Afrihost or Smartvillage+MWEB situations)
8. A pure reseller model is NOT Open Access
9. Regulated pricing on interconnect/IPC/L2 transit at the Teracos (Vuma or Frogfoot models for example)
 
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KaMoS

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Cybersmart Lightspeed (FTTH) is open access.

Does anyone know if the SADV fibre networks are open access?
 

gripen

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Cybersmart Lightspeed (FTTH) is open access.

Does anyone know if the SADV fibre networks are open access?
Will take your word for it, I see reference to Open Access in the marketing material but no ISP packages of any sort. Much like Vodacom and MTN. Nonetheless, we will see when they start gaining critical mass! OP Updated
 

The_MAC

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"Metrofibre-Greencom - Closed access" - This is what is being rolled out in our neighbourhood. Everyone is going crazy over it, not realising that once the throttling starts and the QOS is affected from an ISP perspective, don't even think of going to another ISP, because guess what, its CLOSED ACCESS
 

gripen

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This is the issue yes. On top of that, if one looks at the industry as a whole, how can it be that some of these small players have sufficient protected capacity (10Gbps or more) to the Internet outside of SA? I think Open Access is the only way, or perhaps going with a provider who you KNOW has tons of capacity... then again, that doesn't stop them from throttling/FUP/shaping and all that other nonsense.

Case in point, there was an article of a 25Mbps speed test. Who says the ISP in question has more than 100Mbps of total capacity :D
 

eddief1

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Case in point, there was an article of a 25Mbps speed test. Who says the ISP in question has more than 100Mbps of total capacity :D
Well as an ISP you scale your capacity in relation to your subscriber base, no point in having a 10Gbps pipe if you only have a few hundred clients, you need to run as close to capacity as possible. It really has nothing to do with pipe size. All ISP's scale as they grow and you got to start somewhere.

And besides, these guys most likely peer at Teraco, so extra capacity is easily available.

What is very interesting though is that some ISP's have a 10Gbps fibre link into say Teraco, and when asked they say they have 10Gbps back haul...well yes to Teraco...but how much 'internet' bandwidth do they actually have out to the WWW. That's like saying I have a 10Gbps link from my PC to my ADSL line, means nothing, but 10Gbps seems to be the buzz word of late, the only reason being is that is the common optic available to light fibre.
 

Glipsie

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"Metrofibre-Greencom - Closed access" - This is what is being rolled out in our neighbourhood. Everyone is going crazy over it, not realising that once the throttling starts and the QOS is affected from an ISP perspective, don't even think of going to another ISP, because guess what, its CLOSED ACCESS
What's you source on this? As I understand it the infrastructure is owned by Metro Fibre Networks. Then there are currently 2 ISP's (Greencom and CMC Networks) who are operating on their infrastructure. I don't believe there is anything stopping other ISPs from doing the same.
 

jackshiels

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Frogfoot/Link Africa is indeed open access. Any ISP, big or small, can offer products over the network. ISP's are independent of the CPE unit, but offer different routers to one another.
 

gripen

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Frogfoot/Link Africa is indeed open access. Any ISP, big or small, can offer products over the network. ISP's are independent of the CPE unit, but offer different routers to one another.
Fair enough but the aim of the post is to clarify what Open Access is. So can you answer the following for Linkafrica/Frogfoot:
* can a subscriber easily change ISPs or use multiple ISPs at the same time?
* does the ISP manage the session or is this managed by Frogfoot? i.e. can the ISP choose which IP to assign to which user, static IPs, IPv6, RFC1918 etc
* do the ISP and end user have full access to the CPE - to change the WLAN SSID etc or do you need a separate WiFi router to make this possible?
* can the subscriber choose a different line provider if for example he is happy with his data package? Maybe he needs a higher level of support on the line portion but is willing to go cheap on the data portion (just an example).

Perhaps we should look at some criteria for Open Access (as above) and consider another category such as Open ISP - where you can choose your ISP but not much else is open? Full Open Access means you can choose any access line provider and data provider independently and have full access to your CPE.

It is indeed great that Linkafrica/Frogfoot and Vumatel are allowing even the smallest of ISPs to offer packages but the question is how open are they? I'd consider them Open ISP FTTH solutions, not Open Access FTTH. In fact, none of the current set of FTTH providers are full Open Access (if we don't consider the LLU / bitstream definition). Even Telkom's DSL network is not Open Access - but much closer than the Open ISP models used by the FTTH providers.
 

jackshiels

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Fair enough but the aim of the post is to clarify what Open Access is. So can you answer the following for Linkafrica/Frogfoot:
* can a subscriber easily change ISPs or use multiple ISPs at the same time?
* does the ISP manage the session or is this managed by Frogfoot? i.e. can the ISP choose which IP to assign to which user, static IPs, IPv6, RFC1918 etc
* do the ISP and end user have full access to the CPE - to change the WLAN SSID etc or do you need a separate WiFi router to make this possible?
* can the subscriber choose a different line provider if for example he is happy with his data package? Maybe he needs a higher level of support on the line portion but is willing to go cheap on the data portion (just an example).

Perhaps we should look at some criteria for Open Access (as above) and consider another category such as Open ISP - where you can choose your ISP but not much else is open? Full Open Access means you can choose any access line provider and data provider independently and have full access to your CPE.

It is indeed great that Linkafrica/Frogfoot and Vumatel are allowing even the smallest of ISPs to offer packages but the question is how open are they? I'd consider them Open ISP FTTH solutions, not Open Access FTTH. In fact, none of the current set of FTTH providers are full Open Access (if we don't consider the LLU / bitstream definition). Even Telkom's DSL network is not Open Access - but much closer than the Open ISP models used by the FTTH providers.
1. Yes and yes, as far as I know.
2. Yes, they connect in the same way ADSL would, at a data centre (but without IPC, obviously).
3. No. Both line and data are handled by the ISP.

I think full open access is a little too much to ask at this point. Networks are expensive and having a full LLU policy could over complicate the process. As long as there is competition, I don't think there will be issues. Frogfoot/Link Africa need a ROI they can depend on, especially in a heavy investment like FTTH. Perhaps several years down the line.

If you go abroad, the South African model of line and data being separate is hardly ever seen. I lived in Ireland and you always got the two bundled together. I think we suffer this because of the need for cost savings - trimming a little here and there based on line or data.
 
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th0rn

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1. Yes and yes, as far as I know.
2. Yes, they connect in the same way ADSL would, at a data centre (but without IPC, obviously).
3. No. Both line and data are handled by the ISP.

I think full open access is a little too much to ask at this point. Networks are expensive and having a full LLU policy could over complicate the process. As long as there is competition, I don't think there will be issues. Frogfoot/Link Africa need a ROI they can depend on, especially in a heavy investment like FTTH. Perhaps several years down the line.

If you go abroad, the South African model of line and data being separate is hardly ever seen. I lived in Ireland and you always got the two bundled together. I think we suffer this because of the need for cost savings - trimming a little here and there based on line or data.
Is the handoff in the datacenter at layer 2 or 3?
 

gripen

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1. Yes and yes, as far as I know
Thanks, it would be interesting to see how this would be in practice
2. Yes, they connect in the same way ADSL would, at a data centre (but without IPC, obviously).
So you are saying they are using PPPoE then like Telkom does i.e. L3 between the ISP and Frogfoot? IPC is just an interconnect, it's actually the same thing so yes it is without Telkom's IPC product but the principle is the same. Telkom IPC is not a bad thing, quite overpriced (up to 5x international apparently), but not a bad thing as without it there would be no Afrihost, WebAfrica, MWEB ISPs which are role players in FTTH now.

3. No. Both line and data are handled by the ISP.

I think full open access is a little too much to ask at this point. Networks are expensive and having a full LLU policy could over complicate the process. As long as there is competition, I don't think there will be issues.
I disagree. Open Access has nothing to do with expensive networks. That's a pricing issue. The wholesale price should recover the cost. That's the whole point, in the current "open access" model, there is competition but only up to a point. It's a more selective process ito choosing an ISP but still pretty limited for the end user, that's my concern. If the networks can't price their access lines and interconnect profitably, that's their own fault. Allowing Open Access does nothing to the overall profitability model of FTTH. In fact, since it stimulates higher uptake, FTTH becomes MORE profitable.

Frogfoot/Link Africa need a ROI they can depend on, especially in a heavy investment like FTTH. Perhaps several years down the line.
See above. They are by nature and without any confusion a wholesaler - of access lines and interconnect capacity. This is their business model. If they set their pricing right, take up will be very high - at the wholesale level. The retail ISP only brings you the customer and traffic. So it's great that Frogfoot's model is "open" but I'm just concerned that it isn't open enough!

If you go abroad, the South African model of line and data being separate is hardly ever seen. I lived in Ireland and you always got the two bundled together. I think we suffer this because of the need for cost savings - trimming a little here and there based on line or data.
So now you are defending closed access? Ireland has LLU - different ball game. Also, who cares what any other country does. Why is having a selection of line and data provider "suffering"? The "trimming" is pretty essential in our market, we have been ripped off by Telkom (not so much recently, line rental increase aside) and the mobile operators for years, in a challenged economy with a currency with weak buying power. What is true is that you paid a low/fair price in Ireland, that's where we need to go to - maybe Open Access isn't the vehicle, maybe it is... that's the debate here really.
 

jackshiels

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Thanks, it would be interesting to see how this would be in practice

So you are saying they are using PPPoE then like Telkom does i.e. L3 between the ISP and Frogfoot? IPC is just an interconnect, it's actually the same thing so yes it is without Telkom's IPC product but the principle is the same. Telkom IPC is not a bad thing, quite overpriced (up to 5x international apparently), but not a bad thing as without it there would be no Afrihost, WebAfrica, MWEB ISPs which are role players in FTTH now.
Not a tech guy, can't answer. Link Africa is L1, Frogfoot L2 and the ISP L3.

I disagree. Open Access has nothing to do with expensive networks. That's a pricing issue. The wholesale price should recover the cost. That's the whole point, in the current "open access" model, there is competition but only up to a point. It's a more selective process ito choosing an ISP but still pretty limited for the end user, that's my concern. If the networks can't price their access lines and interconnect profitably, that's their own fault. Allowing Open Access does nothing to the overall profitability model of FTTH. In fact, since it stimulates higher uptake, FTTH becomes MORE profitable.
We are working with many other ISPs in order to increase choice. Demanding that kind of separation is probably not a bargaining chip we have.

See above. They are by nature and without any confusion a wholesaler - of access lines and interconnect capacity. This is their business model. If they set their pricing right, take up will be very high - at the wholesale level. The retail ISP only brings you the customer and traffic. So it's great that Frogfoot's model is "open" but I'm just concerned that it isn't open enough!

So now you are defending closed access? Ireland has LLU - different ball game. Also, who cares what any other country does. Why is having a selection of line and data provider "suffering"? The "trimming" is pretty essential in our market, we have been ripped off by Telkom (not so much recently, line rental increase aside) and the mobile operators for years, in a challenged economy with a currency with weak buying power. What is true is that you paid a low/fair price in Ireland, that's where we need to go to - maybe Open Access isn't the vehicle, maybe it is... that's the debate here really.
No, just saying that it is not likely to happen given the large investment into the FTTH network. We as a community can't demand everything from them at this point given the fact that they are the ones paying for the fibre. We were very lucky in that Link Africa/Frogfoot offered us much better value than the competition. Right now competition is decent, but we can expect more once the larger providers get on board. We have some interesting faces coming to the table...
 
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aborg

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Good thread - following this with interest - think we are all learning here. Open access is good - the main thing that I am hearing from all the infrastructure providers/installers is how expensive it is to get the network established in a neighbourhood. Current critical mass seems around a min of 1000 residents and 50 to 60% sign-ups to make it viable. We are punching below this weight but hoping to come up with a way to make it work and to also establish an 'open access' network.
 

oober

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I had this reply regarding open access from Greencom
When we deploy fibre we offer layer 2/3 service ( Broadband access) and OTT services such as Voice , media content , VOD, CCTV ect on a 3 month contract. When the project is completed any ISP can approach us to offer their services to end users on our network and we will charge a port charge to the ISP.
So what does this mean?
 

ebendl

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Regarding MTN and Vodacom - they contacted our estate last year already to punt their FTTH services. We didn't do much then. Then this year we got the same emails/calls again - but now all of a sudden there's "Open access".

When questioned about it, they said it is "wholesale open access" and that they will share it with ISPs once ISPs wish to roll out to these areas. Apparently not even Afrihost is offering services on MTNs network.

My gut feeling tells me that they picked up that the hip new small players, like Vumatel / Frogfoot&LA is offering open access and that users like the idea... so they "offer" it. The problem is, as long as nobody else actually is available on the network it is essentially closed access to the user.
 

jackshiels

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Regarding MTN and Vodacom - they contacted our estate last year already to punt their FTTH services. We didn't do much then. Then this year we got the same emails/calls again - but now all of a sudden there's "Open access".

When questioned about it, they said it is "wholesale open access" and that they will share it with ISPs once ISPs wish to roll out to these areas. Apparently not even Afrihost is offering services on MTNs network.

My gut feeling tells me that they picked up that the hip new small players, like Vumatel / Frogfoot&LA is offering open access and that users like the idea... so they "offer" it. The problem is, as long as nobody else actually is available on the network it is essentially closed access to the user.
We stipulated to them we needed open access. They agreed it could work under bitstream. Last minute change of mind perhaps?

The guys next door to us in Silverhurst went with MTN FTTH ... even though they are in range of Link Africa/Frogfoot fibre... I feel sorry for them. Don't go with these guys if you can get an alternative. Their pricing is awful.
 
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