Value of ISPA Membership Seen in LTE Switch-Off
News that a leading network operator was discontinuing its fixed-LTE wholesale service offering has alarmed many Internet consumers concerned about no longer being able to access the web though their chosen Internet Service Provider (ISP).
Fortunately, over 190 local ISPs are members of South Africa’s Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA) which counts end-user protection as a key mandate.
In the event of an ISP no longer being able to offer a particular Internet access service due to events beyond its control, ISPA’s Code of Conduct offers some respite.
The Code specifically states that users must be kept informed of developments and ISPA members must provide information regarding possible alternatives.
“ISPA members will always suggest alternatives to consumers impacted by an upstream provider unilaterally discontinuing an Internet access service,” says ISPA chair, André van der Walt. In this case, Cell C has chosen to no longer provide a wholesale LTE service to Internet Solutions who has, in turn, been forced to cease reselling the service to many ISPs.
“ISPA places a duty of care on its members who are required to act professionally and adequate and timely communication is central to this. ISPA members will always attempt to mitigate the adverse effects on consumers of any service discontinuation,” Mr Van Der Walt explains.
The Cell C LTE wholesale service switch-off is similar to the Telkom ADSL discontinuation that received some media attention earlier this year. In Telkom’s case, the company said it was moving prepaid fixed-line customers to wireless prepaid services to overcome copper’s inherent flaws. Here some customers who couldn’t be migrated were set to have their service shut off.
ISPA’s advice to consumers is to be flexible when working with their ISP to determine an acceptable work-around to this particular wholesale LTE service discontinuation. Impacted consumers should proactively contact their ISP should they not already have heard from their access provider.
“South Africa’s Internet access market is mature, robust and experiencing the benefits of ISPA’s two-decade battle to promote healthy competition. There are many high-speed retail Internet access alternatives on offer and ISPA members stand ready to keep the SA Internet consumer connected,” concludes Mr Van Der Walt.
ISPA has represented the interests of South Africa’s Internet Service Providers’ and Internet consumers since 1996. More information is available at www.ispa.org.za.
For further information, please contact the ISPA secretariat on the Contact ISPA page.