Telkom’s head of wholesale and networks, Bashier Sallie, announced at a press briefing held on 2 September 2012 that they would be launching a high-speed broadband pilot project.
Sallie said that the project would be focusing on FTTx (replacing part of its copper infrastructure with optical fibre), and high-speed digital subscriber line (DSL) services.
Telkom first announced a project to replace its existing DSL infrastructure at telephone exchanges with multi-service access nodes (MSANs) during March 2012. This will see the roll out 3,700 multi-service access nodes (MSANs) that will replace 2,700 older generation cabinets and add another 1,000 to their number.
Telkom’s head of network infrastructure provisioning, Alphonzo Samuels, previously explained that MSANs can be used to offer higher speed ADSL (ADSL 2+), very-high-bit-rate digital subscriber line (VDSL), and fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) services. At the time, Samuels said that they wanted to be ready to kick off the pilot project in July 2012, with technical testing running for a period of 3–6 months.
Sallie conceded that they were a few months late in launching the pilot, later adding that the interdict brought by ZTE Mzansi was the primary reason for the delay.
VDSL trial details
The trial will start on 3 September 2012 and end on 31 January 2013, enabling ADSL2+ and VDSL over existing copper wires at speeds of 20 megabits per second (Mbps) and 40Mbps.
Sallie said that the trial would cover the following areas:
- Benmore Gardens (Gauteng): 19 sites serving 4,900 ports
- Fourways (Gauteng): 13 sites serving 3,600 ports
- Waterkloof (Gauteng): 14 sites serving 4,500 ports
- Durban North (KwaZulu-Natal): 3 sites serving 1,100 ports
- Durbanville (Western Cape): 4 sites serving 1,300 ports
Sallie said that pilot participants will be approached on a one-on-one basis through TelkomInternet ISP, particularly 10Mbps customers, to gauge interest in uptake. There will “by necessity” be a different price for these services, Sallie said.
Telkom opted for this approach, rather than upgrading all customers connected to an MSAN to see a representative mix rather than having all users at 40Mbps.
However, all customers that are switched over to an MSAN would see an improved experience due to the Metro Ethernet network and reduced loop length [length of copper line to the exchange/MSAN], Sallie said.
He added that MSANs are equipped with remote line testing capabilities, which improves quality and decreases the need for dispatches.
The objectives of the pilot, Sallie said, are as follows:
- Validate technology performance and technical assumptions;
- Test operations supports systems and business support systems;
- Validate test processes / procedures;
- Assess field readiness; and
- Identify challenges associated with the technical implementation plan.
Asked if only TelkomInternet customers will be allowed to participate in the trial, Sallie said that they are in discussions with other players, but that they had to balance inclusion with what they needed to get out of the trial.
Mweb had previously indicated to MyBroadband that it was interested in participating in the trial.
Jan Vermeulen is a guest of Telkom at SATNAC 2012Forum discussion