SA'S INTERNET SOLUTIONS TO LAUNCH ADSL OFFERING

Internet

Internet Solutions (IS) is planning to introduce its own ADSL offering within two months, says CEO Angus McRobert. McRobert spoke to ITWeb during the company's Internetix conference held in Cape Town yesterday.

He says the company is finalising negotiations with Telkom, and determining the pricing and exact specifications of the service. "We definitely will launch our ADSL offering by end-September. A lot will depend on whether Telkom will be able to hold up their end of the bargain, but we are working on that," McRobert says.

A number of other Internet service providers have already introduced ADSL offerings, but all have to use Telkom's "last mile" service, because it is the only telecommunications company to have a full service licence. "Offering an ADSL service is an expensive exercise for an Internet service provider as we all have to depend on Telkom, and then the customers always want to use more bandwidth than they are entitled to," McRobert says.

Government's delay in licensing the second national operator (SNO) came in for varying amounts of criticism throughout the conference. Andre Wills, managing partner of telecommunications consultancy Africa Analysis, says the delay in awarding the licence means the business case for the SNO will have to be re-examined.

"Market conditions are continually evolving and so the business case that made sense two years ago when the licence should have been issued does not necessarily make sense now." Wills expects the SNO to aggressively target the corporate sector, as it will have to find the best way to make up for lost time and profits.

McRobert notes that the high cost of telecommunications in this country has arrested Internet growth. The current base of about 1.2million dial-up users is not expected to grow significantly soon, he says. "Mobile services may offer a solution. However, while the potential there is huge, those services are still in their infancy and offerings are not quite where they should be."

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