Local loop unbundling: Bitstream gets launch date

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) announced today (16 April 2012) that it will introduce a form of local loop unbundling (LLU) known as bitstream access in November 2012.

The introduction of bitstream will go hand-in-hand with an access line deficit recovery scheme.

ICASA issued its findings on LLU in November last year after an inquiry. November 2011 was originally the deadline by when LLU needed to be implemented in South Africa.

Asked why bitstream access would only be introduced by November 2012, ICASA said that they have to determine the scale and scope of the access line deficit scheme, ensuring that it is fair for all.

ICASA would also need to set the required standards for licensees to be able to connect to the local loop, the regulator said.

To this end, ICASA said that it will soon be establishing a bitstream working group.

The regulator said that it expects bitstream to increase margins available to internet service providers, stimulating innovation and increased investment.

It also expects an increase in take-up of fixed-line DSL services over time due to more competitive prices and improved customer choice, ICASA said.

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Local loop unbundling: Bitstream gets launch date