Telkom has elected to test its new very-high-bit-rate digital subscriber line (VDSL) technology to ensure, among other things, a speedy trial of the 20 megabits per second (Mbps) and 40Mbps capabilities.
This is according to head of networks and wholesale at Telkom, Bashier Sallie, who was responding to Thursday’s (6 September 2012) call by the Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA) to include ISPs other than TelkomInternet in Telkom’s VDSL pilot.
The start of the pilot project was announced on Sunday (2 September 2012), where Sallie said that it would run from 3 September 2012 to 31 January 2013, and that Telkom is in discussions with other ISPs to help test their new multi-service access nodes (MSANs), which enables the roll-out of VDSL services.
ISPA regulatory advisor, Dominic Cull, expressed concern that TelkomInternet has an unfair advantage in the retail market as it has a direct link to SAIX while other ISPs have to use the Telkom wholesale provider’s IP Connect (IPC) product.
Cull said that there can be little doubt that being able to exclusively participate in the MSAN trial will provide TelkomInternet with a competitive advantage.
ISPA also expressed surprise that Telkom had adopted an exclusive approach given the recent Competition Tribunal judgement against it.
Telkom provided the following statement from Bashier Sallie, further responding to ISPA’s appeal:
Telkom notes the ISPA call but has not yet been engaged by ISPA prior to the release of their media statement on the matter.
As communicated in a press release on 2 September 2012, Telkom has commenced the high-speed broadband pilot which will run until 31 January 2013. This initiative has been widely welcomed by the general public and industry.
Should the pilot prove successful, the new wholesale DSL offerings will be commercially available to all Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Telkom Internet will be given notice of the availability and technical and commercial specifications of such a wholesale product at the same time as all the Other Licenced Operators (OLOs).
Telkom has historically conducted ‘proof-of-concepts’ and product trials such as CHIPAC with individual ISPs (in the case of CHIPAC, the ISP was not Telkom Internet). This is to ensure expedient testing of new network technology or services in a controlled environment. The ISPA press release correctly mentions that Telkom wants to balance inclusion against our desired outcomes. We believe the industry will prefer a trial that is successfully conducted in the shortest possible time.
Given the fact that this is new technology for Telkom and the size of the high-speed broadband footprint spans 16,000 ports across four regions, this balance is crucial. We also need to test the integration to our IT BSS/OSS systems and into our network management and configuration systems. The pilot will also serve to validate and test service fulfilment and assurance processes, assess field technical and operational readiness and evaluate the customer experience at a set service configuration.
Telkom has had discussions with individual ISP’s on this matter and is seeking to discuss this directly with ISPA also. We are open to listening to proposals that will be in the interest of all parties.