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Can FTTH Bring An End To Capped Services In South Africa ?


South Africa’s bandwidth pricing has experienced less dramatic reductions of late, after several years of more aggressive price drops – but, predicts Brian Timperley of Turrito Networks, a new round of disruption is due under the twin pressures of fibre rollout to consumers and the growth of international “over the top” (OTT) services like WhatsApp.

“We all know that South Africa lags far behind when it comes to bandwidth availability, cost and speed,” says Timperley. “In urban areas in developed countries the availability of bandwidth is likened to air – the idea of rationing it by capping services is very foreign. Fortunately, we are now seeing the beginnings of a new wave of bandwidth rollouts that will make up some of the backlog.”

He says fibre to the home (FTTH), now beginning to be rolled out in major centres around the country, spells a beginning to the end of Telkom’s monopoly over the last mile. “Local loop unbundling – making Telkom’s copper network available to other service providers to increase competition in the market – has been promised for more years than we’d like to recall, and the market has finally given up waiting. FTTH pricing is very aggressive at the moment for a service that’s far more stable, and often much faster than ADSL… copper theft also becomes a thing of the past.”