20Mbps ADSL network upgrades starting?

MyBroadband recently reported that Telkom is getting ready to trial 20Mbps and 40Mbps DSL services, where the 40Mbps connections will be used for video-on-demand trials.

The higher ADSL speeds will be made possible by shortening the copper local loop through deploying remote IMAX units in the areas around the Telkom exchanges, which will then be back-hauled to the exchanges via fibre.

In cases where the copper quality is not high enough to deliver the higher speeds, copper replacement or rehabilitations will be considered.

While 20Mbps ADSL speeds would be something new in South Africa, fibre-to-the-curb projects to shorten the local loop have been part of Telkom’s strategy for years.

Bashier Sallie, Telkom’s Senior Managing Executive for Wholesale and Networks, told MyBroadband that a large portion of Telkom’s 143,000 km fibre network is in fact ‘to the curb’.

Bashier Sallie
Bashier Sallie

According to information received by MyBroadband, Telkom is planning to speed up the improvement of broadband speeds and boost penetration rates by increasing their vendor and partner involvement, known as the Delta Partners Project. Telkom will involve their suppliers and contractors to step in where Telkom falls short on resources to serve its ‘network upgrade’ needs.

According to a source close to the project the pilot projects for the Delta Partner Project has started. It is however understood that the scope of these pilot project are limited to a handful of exchanges in Cape Town, Durban Johannesburg and Pretoria.

Higher ADSL sync speeds starting to emerge

MyBroadband has now received information from some ADSL users that they are starting to see ADSL sync speeds of close to 20Mbps on their standard ADSL lines.

According to one subscriber, the Telkom technician told him that the higher speed was made possible by a DSLAM upgrade at the exchange, and the installation of a mini-DSLAM closer to the customer which is back-hauled to the exchange using fibre.

ADSL Router Info
ADSL Router Info

It should be noted that the higher sync speeds did not translate into real world speed improvements because the subscribers’ profiles limited them to 10Mbps downlink speeds.

While the ‘attainable rate’ was 19,636kbps down and 1,120kbps up, the actual rate remained at 10,015kbps and 1,023kbps. A web based speed test confirmed that the higher sync speeds did not translate into higher throughput on the ADSL connection.

It should be noted that high ‘attainable rates’ are not uncommon, and over the last few months many ADSL users have reported rates exceeding 10Mbps.  The case mentioned in this article is however unique because of the information provided by the technician regarding the higher sync speeds.

Telkom was contacted for feedback about the higher ADSL sync speeds and what their plans are with the DSL speed upgrades, but the company did not respond by the time of publication.

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20Mbps ADSL network upgrades starting?