Local broadband users have been spoilt with mobile broadband speeds of up to 21.1 Mbps, but on the fixed line side maximum ADSL speeds have remained at 4 Mbps for the last few years.
Telkom is planning to increase speeds to 10 Mbps in the near future, but according to ICASA Councilor William Stucke we should look towards 100 Mbps or even 1 Gbps connections to the home.
Caps and broadband business models
Speaking at the recent Techcentral Broadband Debate Stucke said that cap size is a strange concept which essentially came about because we were told by Telkom that international bandwidth is expensive.
According to Stucke 3 GB was selected as the cap size – which he described as a fairly arbitrary figure – but 3 GB of data is simply not enough if you are using the Internet for more than just email and basic web surfing.
Stucke suggested a change in business model from ‘high margin – low volume’ to ‘low margin – high volume’ which is used successfully by SEACOM. “We need to move to a situation where 1 Mbps or 2 Mbps broadband connections are no longer good enough,” said Stucke.
Stucke suggested residential broadband connections of 100 Mbps or more. “100 Mbps, or 1 Gbps, why not? It is not hard to do,” said Stucke.
Cost of providing Fibre to the Home
Stucke said that it does not cost substantially more to provide higher speed broadband services to the home.
In ideal circumstances, Stucke explained, the cost of providing fibre connectivity to a home is around R10,000. The ICASA councilor then pointed out that the current access and line rental cost of R544 per month for a 4 Mbps ADSL line can cover the cost of a fresh fibre installation in less than two years.
Stucke further explained that high contention ratios typically have a significant influence on slower broadband connections, but in bandwidth rich environments where 100 Mbps connections exist, contention ratios can be very high without a significant influence on the user experience.
“There is a business model [for high speed, high bandwidth broadband],” Stucke said.
100 Mbps fibre to the home in SA << discussion