Telkom South African plans uncapped local bandwidth


Telkom says it is planning to offer uncapped local bandwidth on its ADSL service, but there’s a catch. At the recent ICASA Complaints and Compliance Committee (CCC) hearing, Telkom’s legal representative N Maritz, said that the company plans to only cap international bandwidth after users reach their monthly usage allowance.

This is however not necessarily good news for consumers expecting unlimited local bandwidth, a stipulation that many people believe is set out in the ICASA ADSL Regulations.

Maritz argues that “the cap which Telkom places on the bandwidth usage relates to Internet access and not to the ADSL service per se.”

In its submission about capping Telkom separates the ADSL service from the actual Internet bandwidth usage of the service, saying that "the ADSL service which Telkom contracted to provide to the complainant is a telecommunications access service. It may be used to access a network or the Internet…”

Maritz said that when a user has downloaded or uploaded 3 GB of data in any one month period, the service will be capped so that the user will only have access to South African based IP addresses.

Current TelkomInternet subscribers are not immediately capped when reaching their monthly limit – typically 3 GB - but Maritz said that this will happen in future.

“The cap would therefore be placed on international bandwidth usage and not on local bandwidth usage,” Telkom pointed out in its submission. Those looking for unmetered, free local bandwidth, similar to the ADSL service when it was launched in 2002, will be disappointed.

Consumers will be charged for any local bandwidth usage after the service has been capped. This basically means that international hard capping will be strictly enforced while local bandwidth charges will be levied on any additional usage after being capped. Many ISPs are already selling local bandwidth accounts, and consumers therefore do not stand to gain much from Telkom’s plans to fall in line with the ADSL regulations.

Maritz further pointed out that this new system is dependant on technical developments on the company’s local and international IP Networks. The CCC hearings will continue at the ICASA offices until Friday, October 26.