Cable broadband 'will survive mobile'

2012-12-13 09:05
Douglas Reed of Vox Telecom says that cable broadband will thrive, despite the growth of mobile. (Vox Telecom)

Douglas Reed of Vox Telecom says that cable broadband will thrive, despite the growth of mobile. (Vox Telecom)

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Cape Town - Despite the exponential growth in mobile devices able to access the internet, cable broadband still has a future, an industry expert has said.

According to Douglas Reed, joint CEO of Vox Telecom, internet services providers (ISPs) will continue to offer web services in urban areas, but the government should take the lead in rolling out service to rural communities.

Reed is a serial start-up campaigner and has been spear-heading the rollout of satellite service internet at Vox Telecom.

The service is suited for rural communities where there is a lack of infrastructure and YahClick has launched the Ka-band satellite broadband service in South Africa.

Reed also answered some questions on the future of Telkom and mobile devices in a Q&A with News24.

News24: Mobile is growing exponentially. Does that mean cable broadband is dead?
Douglas Reed: No not at all, cable broadband will always be less expensive and more reliable than mobile solutions.

News24: When will costs reach universal acceptance to grow broadband access?
Reed: Cost of cable broadband is already competitive and the mobile data rates are following this downward trend.  For example, mobile can now be purchased for R15 per GB outside bundled specials.

News24: Many cities have rolled out so-called 'dark fibre'. Do you think metropoles will become the ISPs of the future?

Reed: No, there will be a need for Service Providers but they will become telco infrastructure providers to the Service Providers.

News24: Should government take over the rollout of broadband, particularly in poor rural communities?
Reed: The government could provide infrastructure to underserviced uneconomical areas and rely on the Service Providers to provide and package the various consumer options. Competition will make this extremely competitive.

News24: Telkom has the monopoly on last mile infrastructure. Should the SOE be unbundled and allow retail competition on the infrastructure?
Reed: Only if the provider of the wholesale arm was nationalised. Government interference to erode Telkom's value chain will lead to unintended consequences that could result in a reduction of investment into infrastructure. This would do far more harm than good in the long run.

News24: How will web-enabled TVs change viewing patterns?
Reed: Patterns will be individualised and open up the opportunities for one on one marketing.

News24: Mobile devices like tablets continue to show strong growth. Are they a good fit in SA, given the high cost of data?
Reed: Yes, tablets can utilise Wi-Fi to bring down the costs of data dramatically.

News24: At what point will we stop calling phones 'smart'?

Reed: I suppose when 90% of all phones or handheld devices are "smart". Which we estimate to be by 2016.

Read more on:    vox telecom  |  mobile  |  broadband  |  internet

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