Press release: Positive Aspects Of ADSL Regulations Overshadowed By Fundamental Flaws

Published on: 2006-08-22

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Commenting on the regulations regarding the provision of asymmetrical digital subscriber line (ADSL) services published recently by the Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA), the Internet Service Providers Association of SA (ISPA) commended the regulator for raising the bar in terms of transparency, service delivery and technical functionality in the broadband market but cautioned that a number of the provisions are too vague to have the intended impact.

Greg Massel, Co-chair of ISPA, said: While greater transparency is to be encouraged, one has the feeling that ICASA is more concerned with placing warning labels on broadband services than doing anything about the actual cost of these services.

He added: While consumers will have a better idea of the specific costs involved before entering into a broadband contract, the central issues of the lack of affordability and limited bandwidth capacity have been neatly sidestepped while it remains uncertain what sanctions will be imposed on the fixed line operator should it fail to meet the 30 day ADSL installation deadline.

Given Telkom’s current backlog and current turnaround times for ADSL installations, ICASA is likely to be inundated with complaints.

Unfortunately, the good news regarding specific delivery lead times, more clearly defined service parameters and the resolution of specific consumer technical issues is overshadowed so dramatically by the lack of provisions to prevent continued anti-competitive behaviour by Telkom.

According to ISPAs original submission on the draft ADSL regulations, 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.

“ISPA calls for engagement with relevant industry players, including Telkom and ICASA, regarding the ability of ISPs to implement various aspects of the regulations, for example the local bandwidth cap,” Mr Massel concluded.

The Internet Service Providers’ Association is a South African Internet industry body incorporated not for gain. ISPA currently has 117 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.