BROADCASTERS TAKE AIM AT TELKOM IN SOUTH AFRICA
Telkom's monopoly on the local loop was an unfair advantage over broadcasters as it would prevent them from offering subscription television over the internet, Khetha Media said in papers filed with the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa).
Icasa had invited interested companies to comment on subscription broadcasting licence applications by January. Khetha Media and Telkom Media are among 18 companies that have applied for licences to compete with MultiChoice.
Telkom is the only company that owns fixed telephone lines linking homes and offices. Neotel, Telkom's only competitor, is yet to provide services and has no access to fixed lines.
Telkom plans to offer internet protocol television (IPTV) over its high-speed asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL).
It plans to invest more than R7 billion and offer channels including sports, reality programmes, soap operas and news for a minimum of R100 a month.
Khetha said that given that local loop unbundling had not been prescribed, there was a risk that Telkom Media would have undue preference in providing IPTV over ADSL. Khetha questioned whether Telkom would give access to other broadcasters transparently and without discrimination in the absence of regulation.
In an attempt to force Telkom to give other operators access to the last mile, the government has appointed a local loop unbundling working group. The government expects a report in the second half of the year. Icasa would then determine how best to achieve the unbundling, the ministry of communications said last month.