Telkom’s clients await Icasa ruling on ADSL

Telkom customers will soon have a clearer idea of how charges for the fixed-line operator’s high-speed asymmetrical digital subscriber line (ADSL) service are constructed.

The Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) has recommended that the installation fees of between R342 and R437 be charged on a once-off basis, so consumers were aware of how much they paid for installation.

Along with the recommendation, Icasa will today release the regulations on ADSL, which uses a fixed-line telephone and a modem to offer multimedia services.

The regulations come a week after Telkom reduced its average ADSL prices by 24 percent and a year after Icasa published a damning report following complaints by consumers that Telkom’s ADSL fees were exorbitant and not in line with fees in other jurisdictions.

Telkom’s ADSL monthly rental fees range from R362 to R699, depending on the option the consumer chooses.

Mamodupi Mohlala, an outgoing Icasa councillor who chaired the ADSL hearings in May, said Icasa would deal with access fees and other monthly charges once Telkom had submitted its charts of account and cost allocation manuals (COA/CAM). This would give an indication of the cost to Telkom of offering the services and how that related to the price being paid by consumers.

Telkom, which has invested R1 billion in the ADSL network, will submit its COA/CAM report next month.

"Not everyone will be happy about the regulations released today as people expected us [Icasa] to reduce tariffs," she said. However, consumers will have to wait for the COA/CAM reports for further recommendations on price reduction as today’s regulations mainly address consumer protection issues and the development of small, micro and medium-sized enterprises (SMMEs).

After the May hearings, consumer group MyADSL suggested that Telkom reduce ADSL prices by 70 percent because its 24 percent reduction only translated into an effective saving of 12 percent as installation fees were increased by 8 percent.

The regulations will apply to Telkom’s competitor, the second network operator and to internet service providers such as Internet Solutions and MWeb.

The regulations allow subscribers who signed up for the ADSL service before Telkom introduced the monthly cap on the bandwidth volume the right to terminate their contracts.

The service providers are also required to introduce a top-up service for customers who have reached their monthly limit and inform customers weekly of their usage.

Mohlala said the moves were part of an initiative "to promote SMMEs that use the internet as a catalyst for growth".

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Telkom’s clients await Icasa ruling on ADSL