Telkom’s ADSL Bitstream snub

Telkom seems to have gone to ground when it comes to the launch of a commercial Bitstream service. This delay is hurting progress in the ADSL market, argue many ADSL providers

On 30 November 2011 ICASA said in its “Presentation of the findings note on the ICASA framework for introducing Local Loop Unbundling” that it will “engage with industry to ensure that a true bit-stream product is introduced, by the 1st of November next year [2012]”.

This deadline came and went without anything happening, as has become the norm with many deadlines in the telecoms space.

When Telkom was asked about the missed deadline at the time, it said that “working teams from both ICASA and Telkom have been engaged in discussing an Access Line Deficit recovery scheme which is a precursor to Bitstream implementation”.

Telkom said that ICASA is in charge of these processes, and they should be asked for comment.

ICASA spokesperson Paseka Maleka confirmed that they are working with Telkom to “address the Access Line Deficit”.

“As soon as a position on the Access Line Deficit has been concluded, ICASA will move forward with a working group on Bitstream services,” said Maleka. To date no details about the discussions have been released.

Telkom access line deficit 2010
Telkom access line deficit 2010

Bistream will help ISPs

Many Internet Service Providers said that Bitstream access will simplify ADSL product development, and remove some of the complexities related to Telkom’s current IP Connect service.

According to one ISP executive IP Connect has various shortcomings and restrictions, including a lack of support for IPv6.

Curiously Telkom has already developed a Bitstream service called IP Stream, which is ready to be launched.

The Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA) said as far back as 2011 that Telkom was able to release wholesale bitstream access services (IP Stream and Data Stream) immediately (hence in 2011) as the services have already been trialled and are ready for implementation.

In an LLU presentation during 2011 Telkom confirmed that it has built the IP Stream service, but said at the time that the product was ‘frozen’.

Telkom LLU
Telkom LLU

Telkom was asked for comment about Bitstream and its IP Stream service, but the company again passed the buck.

“The possible introduction of IP Stream emanates from ICASA’s LLU consultation process and Findings Document and hence it is best that all queries be directed to ICASA,” said Telkom.

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Telkom’s ADSL Bitstream snub