Local loop unbundling gets new deadline

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has announced that it has set a new deadline for the publication of Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) regulations: 4 March 2014.

Pieter Grootes, general manager of markets and competition at ICASA, said that he is making a commitment to meet the deadline, and predicted that they would even beat it.

The process to unbundle South Africa’s local loop appeared to grind to a halt after ICASA said that it was investigating Telkom’s “access line deficit” (ALD), or more simply put, the loss it makes on line rental.

Originally the deadline set for the full unbundling of the local loop was November 2011.

Asked what was different this time that would prevent ALD from blocking LLU, manager of ICASA’s Cost to Communicate project, Christian Mhlanga explained that all the necessary processes have been followed now.

“We’ve gone through all the consultations,” Mhlanga said, adding that a committee was set up to look at ALD. “We’ve done all the work that needed to be done.”

ICASA will simply be implementing the relevant sections of the Electronic Communications Act.

“We are now guided by the Act and we’re just going to do it,” Mhlanga said.

Mhlanga said that all potential forms of unbundling will be considered and not only the Bitstream Access solution that was promised to be implemented after the initial LLU deadline was missed.

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Local loop unbundling gets new deadline