Openserve has informed Internet service providers (ISPs) of the potential termination of Resell DSL and Openserve Copper Connect (OCC) services within its existing and pre-order fibre footprints.
As part of the notice, Openserve said it reserves the right to cease any or all DSL and OCC services that are within its fibre footprint from 1 October 2021.
“As a courtesy, Openserve will endeavour to inform end-users of our intention to switch their service from copper to fibre and to contact their licensed operator immediately,” it said.
ISPs who spoke to MyBroadband on condition of anonymity said Openserve seems to be targeting specific areas for its 1 October termination.
Openserve has sent a list of affected clients to Internet service providers who are now preparing to communicate the change to their customers.
The affected clients will be required to migrate to fibre, fixed LTE, or another broadband service to avoid being left without Internet access after 1 October.
Openserve’s plan to decommission its copper network is not new. In May 2019, Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko said they planned to stop providing copper-based services by 2024.
Maseko said maintaining multiple cable network technologies is costly, and expertise on copper networks has dwindled as new technologies took over.
Copper cable theft and copper cable faults have also made it difficult for the company to maintain reliable connectivity to its DSL customers.
Following Maseko’s comments, Openserve said it would disconnect ADSL and copper customers in areas where it has fibre from 1 September 2020.
Those plans changed after the Covid-19 lockdown hit. Openserve said the pandemic caused an immediate need to provide affordable broadband connectivity to home users.
The expansion of next-generation access such as fibre was not sufficient to meet this demand in the short term, which extended the life of copper and DSL.
“Our copper-enabled broadband provides a reliable option as we expand our fibre footprint closer to the home,” Openserve said in May last year.
Openserve also launched Pure Connect in April 2020, which allows customers to get ADSL from their ISP without obtaining a copper line from Telkom Retail.
This naked ADSL service significantly reduced the price of ADSL and breathed new life into the service.
Openserve’s latest notice that it intends to cease Resell DSL and Copper Connect services within its fibre footprint indicates that the previous strategy around copper is back in play.
Telkom said Openserve’s focus is still on providing a scalable next-generation network and higher-speed connectivity solutions by modernising and expanding its network to cater for current and future demand.
“Openserve is replacing old copper technology in parts of the country and replacing it with fibre. The new fibre service will offer greater reliability, faster internet speeds and a consistently better-quality service,” Telkom said.
“Where we have fibre services overlapping with copper services those services will be discontinued as communicated to our customers.”
Openserve will continue to support, maintain, and provide broadband services in areas where the company is yet to build end to end fibre infrastructure.