The truth about Telkom’s 40Mbps VDSL

Telkom launched its 20Mbps and 40Mbps VDSL products on 4 March 2013, but limited availability and potential performance issues means that the impact will not be significant.

Telkom said that its VDSL products will only be launched in selected areas: Benmore Gardens, Fourways and Waterkloof in Gauteng; Durban North in KwaZulu-Natal; and Durbanville in the Western Cape.

However, consumers and businesses in these areas should not assume that they will be able to get VDSL.

MWEB Business GM Andre Joubert explained that VDSL is only available to a few DSL subscribers in the rollout regions.

Joubert said that they have found that Telkom is very strict when it comes to its VDSL selection criteria, which means that the service will only be provided to clients with near perfect conditions.

Telkom said that it plans to significantly grow its VDSL footprint over the next few years, but details about this plan remain sketchy.

Andre Joubert
Andre Joubert

Telkom VDSL performance concerns

Joubert said that the feedback from MWEB Business’ VDSL trial customers has been positive. He said that the speeds were great, and the service looked stable.

However, the conditions change as Telkom’s VDSL footprint grows. MWEB Business’ head of technology and product strategy, Roman Hogh explained that Telkom’s VDSL trial was conducted very close to its exchanges.

Moving further away from the exchanges to offer 20Mbps and 40Mbps VDSL may pose challenges for Telkom in future, said Hogh.

Another concern is that Telkom selected the most suitable areas to do their VDSL trials, where there is adequate backhaul capacity and good quality copper; areas where problems are unlikely.

When Telkom grows its VDSL footprint potential network bottlenecks may be exposed which can influence the performance of the service.

Laurie Fialkov
Laurie Fialkov

Cybersmart CEO Laurie Fialkov said that their experience of Telkom’s VDSL service was not good, substantiating Hogh’s concerns.

“Telkom’s VDSL service seems to randomly work,” said Fialkov. “Also, we don’t have visibility into the contention at the exchange so if things are slow it is really difficult for us to debug,” said Fialkov.

Fialkov said that they will wait for a few months for the product to mature before starting to promote it.

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The truth about Telkom’s 40Mbps VDSL