South Africa: MWeb expands broadband capacity using Telkom for last mile delivery


Internet service provider MWeb is expanding its capacity by adding extra last-mile access on Telkom’s network. MWeb CEO Rudi Jansen says since the launch of uncapped broadband earlier this year, customers are flooding to the service. “The uptake on our uncapped product has been incredible,” he says.
However, he says MWeb’s predictions regarding the capacity it would need to keep up with demand were wrong. Shortly before the soccer World Cup, the company had to move a portion of its customers temporarily onto Telkom’s Saix wholesale network. The company also made use of this solution in July when an outage in the Seacom cable left many of South Africa’s Internet users without connectivity.
At the time, MWeb began buying capacity from Telkom in a different way, allowing MWeb to offer its own bandwidth into the last-mile of the digital subscriber line (DSL) network. This method of connectivity, called Internet Protocol Connect (IPC), is about a third cheaper than leasing from Saix wholesale, says Jansen.
However, during the World Cup Telkom was forced to freeze expansion to its network, meaning MWeb had to make another arrangement. Since then, Telkom has been working hard on its network and the first-ever Cape Town IPC will now be available for MWeb to use.
“Typically Cape Town customers were routed through Johannesburg for both local and international traffic. They would usually have higher latency than Johannesburg users,” says Jansen. However, he says MWeb has ploughed a “significant investment” into technology that will make use of the IPC in Cape Town and will bring its international capacity directly to those users.
“The investment in the Cape will also be used to bring redundancy into the network,” says Jansen. Telkom will bring more IPC products on-stream in Johannesburg towards the end of November. With the additional IPC capacity, MWeb says it can now begin migrating users off Saix and back onto its own network.