40Mbps VDSL and FTTx pilot announced

Telkom’s head of wholesale and networks, Bashier Sallie, announced at a press briefing today (2 September 2012) that they would be launching a high-speed broadband pilot project.

Sallie said that the project would be focusing on FTTx (replacing part of its copper infrastructure with optical fibre), and high-speed digital subscriber line (DSL) services.

Telkom first announced a project to replace its existing DSL infrastructure at telephone exchanges with multi-service access nodes (MSANs) during March 2012.

Shortly after the announcement, ZTE Mzansi brought an interdict against Telkom, halting the project. Telkom was granted leave to appeal in May 2012, allowing the company to continue revamping its network.

It is understood that the MSAN project has proceeded well, despite challenges which included the interdict, a deal with KT Corp to acquire Telkom shares falling through, and a fine of R449-million being issued by the Competition Tribunal.

At the press event where it unveiled its MSAN project, Telkom’s head of network infrastructure provisioning, Alphonzo Samuels, explained that MSANs can be used to offer higher speed ADSL (ADSL 2+), very-high-bit-rate digital subscriber line (VDSL), and fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) services.

Samuels said that they wanted to be ready to kick off the pilot project in July 2012, with technical testing running for a period of 3–6 months.

Bashier Sallie
Bashier Sallie

Sallie conceded that they were a few months late in launching the pilot, later adding that the interdict brought by ZTE Mzansi was the primary reason for the delay.

The trial would be running in the following areas, Sallie said:

  • Waterkloof
  • North of Johannesburg
  • Heart of Sandton
  • Durban North
  • Durbanville in the Western Cape

The trial will start on 3 September 2012 and end on 31 January 2013, enabling ADSL2+ and VDSL over existing copper wires at speeds of 20 megabits per second (Mbps) and 40Mbps.

Sallie said that pilot participants will be approached on a one-on-one basis through TelkomInternet ISP, particularly 10Mbps customers, to gauge interest in uptake.

There will “by necessity” be a different price for these services, Sallie said.

Telkom opted for this approach, rather than upgrading all customers connected to an MSAN to see a representative mix rather than having all users at 40Mbps.

Asked whether only TelkomInternet customers will be allowed to participate in the trial, Sallie said that they are in discussions with other players, but that they had to balance inclusion with what they needed to get out of the trial.

Mweb had previously indicated to MyBroadband that it was interested in participating in the trial.

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Jan Vermeulen is a guest of Telkom at SATNAC 2012

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40Mbps VDSL and FTTx pilot announced