Press release: ISPA Wants Fairer Access To ADSL To Offer Consumers Greater Choice

Published on: 2006-05-24

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SANDTON, JOHANNESBURG – The Internet Service Provider Association of SA (ISPA) presented its submission on the draft regulations for ADSL services to the Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA) at public hearings chaired by the Regulator today.

ISPA believes the draft regulations should promote fair competition in the ADSL market, encourage consumer choice and aim for limited technology restrictions.

Ant Brooks, Chair of ISPA’s Regulatory Committee, said: Telkom has an undue level of control of the ADSL market which it leverages against the interests of competing service providers and consumers.

He continued: ISPAs concern is that the draft regulations assume the current market structure favouring Telkom will always exist. Were also concerned that the draft regulations might accidentally result in reduced competition and less consumer choice.

Mr Brooks pointed out that ICASAs enquiry into ADSL services arose largely because of consumer complaints against Telkoms ADSL services.

Consumer dissatisfaction with ADSL will subside once Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are able to offer greater choice to consumers because theyre able to compete fairly in the ADSL market, explained Mr Brooks. Currently, Telkom has very significant control over the pricing and services that can be offered via ADSL.

In the current model of ADSL delivery in SA, Telkom provides the customer with an ADSL access circuit and also connects the customer to the Internet. Numerous resellers buy bulk ADSL accounts from Telkom for resale and they handle customer care and billing. Telkom Internet is a division of Telkom that competes as a reseller of Telkom accounts and there is no transparency between the wholesale and retail ADSL divisions of Telkom.

“The draft regulations do not take into account alternative delivery models and the fact that the local loop is set to be unbundled. In an unbundled local loop model, the service provider does not have to pay Telkom to connect to the ADSL infrastructure, but is entitled to extend its own network right up to the local exchange,” explained Mr Brooks.

According to ISPA, specific problems faced by ISPs in the ADSL market are that Telkom bundles ADSL with other services, Telkom dictates all wholesale prices and there are no controls to ensure that competitors are treated fairly, there is no transparency between Telkoms wholesale and retail operations, Telkom refuses to provide service level guarantees to ISPs and artificially limits the services that ISPs are able to offer via ADSL.

The Internet Service Providers’ Association is a South African Internet industry body incorporated not for gain. ISPA currently has 112 members, comprised of large, medium and small Internet service and access providers in South Africa. Formed in 1996, ISPA has historically served as an active industry body, facilitating exchange between the different independent Internet service providers, the Department of Communications, ICASA, operators and other service providers in South Africa.

Further Information

For further information, please contact the ISPA secretariat on the Contact ISPA page.