MWEB welcomes Telkom 40mbps broadband

2012-09-28 14:02
MWEB CEO Derek Hershaw has welcomed Telkom's 40mbps broadband trial. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

MWEB CEO Derek Hershaw has welcomed Telkom's 40mbps broadband trial. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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VIDEO: Internet state in SA

2012-08-14 13:02

MWEB CEO Derek Hershaw chats about the state of the cable broadband internet industry in SA in this YouTube video.WATCH

Cape Town - Internet service provider MWEB has welcomed the Telkom's broadband trial rollout and hopes that it signals the telco's intent to expand national broadband infrastructure.

Telkom announced that it would trial 40mbps (megabits per second) broadband in five exchange areas and MWEB successfully lobbied the telco to be part of the programme.
"Initially Telkom was only going to trial it through Telkom Internet, but we lobbied through Ispa [Internet Service Providers' Association] to get them to change their mind," Derek Hershaw, CEO of MWEB ISP told News24.

Telkom will run the trial in the following areas: Benmore Gardens, Fourways and Waterkloof in Gauteng; Durban North in Kwa-Zulu Natal and Durbanville in the Western Cape until the end of January 2013.

MWEB said it was buoyed by the intent of the national telco to accelerate fixed line broadband internet.

Mobile operators

"It's early days, but for us it's the intent behind it that they're investing in their fixed line infrastructure which they've neglected for a couple of years now and it's a counter to all the activity that's been going on on the mobile side, so, good news," said Hershaw.

Mobile operators Vodacom and MTN announced on Thursday that they would make next generation LTE (Long Term Evolution) mobile networks available by the end of the year despite not being guaranteed spectrum.

"There isn’t available spectrum at this stage that has been given to the operators to have a full experience of LTE. For 4G to work, we need spectrum in the 1 800MHz or 800Mhz or 2.6GHz bands. We have 1 800MHz [and] we have to take it away from the current 2G network and refarm it and reutilise it for LTE," said incoming Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub.

Telkom hopes to have around 1 000 users in the trial period and Hershaw said that it would reveal a case for expansion of the service nationwide is successful.

"It is a drop in the ocean, but it's still a significant number in terms of what criteria they're trying to trial with - and we'll probably have somewhere between 120 and 150 customers that will" be part of the service, he said.

According to figures from Telkom the operator currently has about four million landline subscribers, but there are less than one million fixed line broadband users in the country.

An expansion of broadband internet could have positive economic ramifications in SA as well as increasing the access and reducing cost for home users.

Behaviour patterns

"It's the intent behind the trial that really makes us excited. If the trial concludes successfully and Telkom decides to go ahead with a national rollout... we'll start seeing broadband speeds in line with what the rest of the world is getting, and it has the potential to increase the footprint of fixed line broadband in this country.

"Currently there are about 850 000 ADSL customers. The expectation is at least that it will double that market. That's what excites us," Hershaw said.

When MWEB launch uncapped internet, the ISP noted that many users changed their behaviour patterns in the way they consumed internet data and Hershaw hinted that increased speeds might also have the effect of changing conduct.

"It all very well giving somebody a 40mbps connection, but what do they use it for: How much network load do they create. The trial will give you some indication of that, but not true yet because we don't see a lot of over the top services in this country yet."

It is expected that Telkom will spend about R12bn on a network upgrade, and home user pricing is unclear at least until the trial concludes.

News24 is part of, a subsidiary of Media24, which is in the Naspers stable. MWEB is a subsidiary of Naspers.

- Follow Duncan on Twitter

Read more on:    mweb  |  telkom  |  internet  |  broadband

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