Telkom blackouts hit fibre users

Numerous Telkom fibre and DSL users are complaining about blackouts and service interruptions, especially during load-shedding.

According to information received by MyBroadband, Telkom’s fixed-line network in certain areas is experiencing regular outages.

It is currently not clear why this happens, and Telkom is not answering any questions regarding the problems.

This information is in line with the findings in the 2020 South African Telecommunications Sentiment Index, released by BrandsEye and Deloitte Africa.

According to the report, Telkom’s Net Sentiment suffered because of major network outages. There were also numerous complaints about poor customer service.

The report highlighted that Telkom has the “most negative network” rating and the “worst response rate” of all operators.

One area which is affected by these outages is Silver Lakes in Pretoria East. A resident informed MyBroadband that Telkom’s fibre and copper networks always go down during load-shedding.

The situation is aggravated by the fact that Vodacom’s mobile network in the area is experiencing similar problems.

“The signal disappears immediately when Eskom or the municipality cuts the power for load-shedding,” he said. “The signal immediately returns when the power is back on.”

He said the problem is affecting thousands of people in the Silver Lakes region.

“With Telkom’s fibre not functioning during load-shedding – which includes landline phones – thousands of subscribers have no communication during the power outages,” he said.

“With Eskom advising that load-shedding is going to be with us for years, subscribers cannot be cut off from the outside world”.

Vodacom addressing the problems

Vodacom told MyBroadband their investigation revealed that connectivity in Silver Lakes has been negatively affected by load-shedding and base station vandalism.

Vodacom’s towers use batteries as a back-up, but these batteries have limited power and will eventually fail.

“When load-shedding occurs, a cellphone tower remains fully functional for as long as the batteries last or the back-up generator keeps running,” a Vodacom spokesperson said.

“Once power is fully depleted, the tower stops working entirely and, depending on the configuration of nearby towers, may cause a coverage area to blackout entirely or for customers to experience intermittent service.”

Vodacom said its base stations in the Silver Lakes area have been vandalised on numerous occasions.

“When criminals target these base stations to steal diesel, power cables, and batteries, they can cut off hundreds if not thousands of people,” Vodacom said.

The operator has now put proactive measures in place to help mitigate the effects of widespread load-shedding and battery theft.

“We have embarked on a massive network upgrade of our battery back systems on sites to ensure minimal network outage during load-shedding,” Vodacom said.

“We have also ramped up the fight against this criminal activity, implementing new measures to make sure that the thieves are caught and prosecuted.”

The good news for Silver Lakes residents is that Vodacom is busy upgrading sites in the area. These upgrades will ensure that the area does not experience power outages during load-shedding.

No feedback from Telkom

MyBroadband asked Telkom for feedback regarding blackouts during load-shedding, but the company did not respond by the time of publication.

Update from Telkom on 28 March

Openserve continues to invest in its fibre deployments to ensure that it keeps the network up during load shedding. Despite efforts to keep our systems up during load shedding we face similar challenges on battery capacity and recharging cycles as well as vandalism. Specific to Silver Lakes Estates we can confirm that our GPON remains active during load shedding.

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Telkom blackouts hit fibre users