The Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) feels that while the ICASA ADSL regulations do address some pressing consumer issues, the bigger issues like cost and limited bandwidth capacity have been left untouched.
"While consumers will have a better idea of the specific costs involved before entering into a broadband contract, the central issues of the lack of affordability and limited bandwidth capacity have been neatly sidestepped,” said Greg Massel, Co-chair of ISPA.
Massel also pointed to the uncertainty as to what sanctions will be imposed on Telkom should it fail to meet the 30 day ADSL installation deadline.
“Given Telkom’s current backlog and current turnaround times for ADSL installations, ICASA is likely to be inundated with complaints,” ISPA said.
ISPA commended the regulator for raising the bar in terms of transparency, service delivery and technical functionality in the broadband market, but cautioned that a number of the provisions are too vague to have the intended impact.
According to ISPA’s original submission on the draft ADSL regulations, specific problems faced by ISPs in the ADSL market are that Telkom bundles ADSL with other services, Telkom dictates all wholesale prices and there are no controls to ensure that competitors are treated fairly.
ISPA also stated that there is no transparency between Telkom’s wholesale and retail operations, which many competitors may view as an anti-competitive situation.
ISPA is also unhappy about Telkom’s refusal to provide service level guarantees to ISPs and artificially limits the services that ISPs are able to offer via ADSL.
ISPA feels that discussions are needed to look at the implementation of these regulations.
"ISPA calls for engagement with relevant industry players, including Telkom and ICASA, regarding the ability of ISPs to implement various aspects of the regulations, for example the local bandwidth cap," Massel said.
Many ISP’s have voiced concern and unhappiness regarding the ADSL regulations, and uncertainty prevails regarding the exact meaning of many of the points in the regulations.
Clarification regarding the finer points of the regulations by ICASA will certainly go a long way to alleviate some uncertainty and lay the foundation as to how all role-players should proceed.