Telkom’s latest results presentation showed it is losing fixed-broadband subscribers, even though its fibre numbers are growing.
This suggests that ADSL in South Africa is shrinking faster than Telkom can add fibre customers.
With DSL in decline, this is sure to affect Internet service providers which rely on Telkom’s network to sell services to consumers and businesses.
The feedback MyBroadband received from several ISPs suggests they think this is a positive development, however, not only for their businesses, but for South Africa.
DSL in decline
Cybersmart CEO Laurie Fialkov said they have seen a decline in DSL subscribers on their network.
Overall, the company is experiencing growth in fixed broadband, though, as ADSL users generally shift to fibre.
Afrihost, Internet Solutions, and Vox told MyBroadband that while they haven’t seen a decline in subscribers, they have noticed slower growth.
“We see a lot more enquiries regarding FTTH and mobile data,” said Afrihost.
Vox’s senior product manager for mobility solutions, Justin Hovener, said DSL still has a place in South Africa, however.
Internet Solutions agreed, stating that with the right level of investment in the DSL network and the use of new technologies, there is life in SA’s DSL network.
The rise of fibre
Fialkov said the decline of ADSL and rise of fibre-to-the-home means faster speeds and no monopoly on the last mile.
It will give South African broadband subscribers more freedom of choice, both in terms of speed and infrastructure, he said.
“Fibre is a massive opportunity and we are seeing many of our DSL clients change over to fibre,” said Afrihost.
“We see fibre as an opportunity to get both new clients to join Afrihost and to offer more connectivity options to our existing clients.”
Afrihost said fibre should also present fewer technical faults and outages.
Internet Solutions said that with the rise of fibre, it has prepared for an exponential increase in the consumption of video and streaming services on its network.
Vox said that, in the long run, technologies such as video streaming and 4K TV put pressure on fibre providers to deliver higher speeds to the consumer.
“This demand for more bandwidth should lead to an increase in international bandwidth capacity, which in turn should drive the price of broadband down in South Africa,” said Hovener.
More ISPs need to join
Afrihost added that it would like to see more local providers join the market, as this will cause better penetration into underserviced areas – especially where existing ADSL is poor or non-existent.
“Local providers understand their communities, and we believe this will lead to a better experience for the consumer.”