Mobile operators may also face LLU

South Africa’s mobile operators will be expected to make their last-mile facilities available on reasonable terms under the current draft Bitstream and Shared/Full Loop Access Regulations.

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) issued a press statement today (Wednesday, 11 December 2013) notifying media about an “Explanatory Note” published in the Government Gazette last Friday.

Among the topics covered in the note were the scope of the regulations.

“It should be clearly understood that the scope of these draft regulations is considerably wider than simply the copper twisted pair local loop,” Icasa said.

“This means that Telkom SA Limited is by no means the only ECNS licensee that will be expected to make its facilities available to other licensees.”

Icasa provided the following definition for “Local Loop”:

“Local Loop” means all physical media, including electrical, optical and radio frequency, used as the electronic communications facilities for the connection of an end-user or end-site to an access network aggregation point on the electronic communications network.

It also provided a definition for Bitstream Access, saying that it hoped this clearly differentiates it from Telkom’s current wholesale ADSL product, IP Connect.

Icasa said it further hoped that the definition is sufficiently broad to cover mobile / GSM / cellular / fixed wireless equivalent services.

The definition was as follows:

“Bitstream Access” means a facility provided to a facilities seeker in order to provide data services through a logical circuit to and end-user or end-site.

The Bitstream logical circuits shall be aggregated and transported between the facilities seeker and facilities provider through an interconnect in such a way that the facilities seeker has full control over the International Standards Organisation Open Systems Interconnect (ISO OSI) Model Layer 3 (network layer) elements of the service, including routing and addressing.

Icasa said that licensees have 30 (thirty) working days from the date of publishing of the Explanatory Note to submit any supplementary comments.

It intends to hold public hearings from 17 to 19 February 2014, Icasa said.

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Mobile operators may also face LLU