Telkom unit Openserve to wholesale copper broadband

Admire Moyo
By Admire Moyo, ITWeb's news editor.
Johannesburg, 29 Apr 2020
Althon Beukes, Openserve CEO.
Althon Beukes, Openserve CEO.

Telkom’s wholesale unit Openserve is set to wholesale its copper broadband access network through its new suite of Openserve Pure Connect products across multiple speeds.

This after the company last week announced fibre and DSL customers will get upgraded data speeds for a three-month period, effective 1 May.

The company also recently told ITWeb that copper cable thieves and vandals are using the cover of the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown to target Openserve’s infrastructure.

Openserve's move to wholesale copper broadband comes after the process of local loop unbundling has been on the cards for several years.

Over the years, Internet service providers (ISPs) have lamented that Telkom’s hold on the last mile of copper has meant new operators have to innovate through wireless technology to gain access to houses or businesses to provide services.

Telkom also recently reached a settlement with the Competition Commission to reduce the price of the telco’s IP Connect products.

IP Connect allows ISPs to connect to Telkom’s broadband network to enable them to provide high-speed connectivity to customers.

It is one of the biggest cost drivers for ISPs and has previously been cited as a major inhibitor to growing broadband in SA because ISPs argued the cost was inflated and limited competition.

According to Openserve CEO Althon Beukes, the wholesaling of copper broadband access product complements Openserve’s overall fixed broadband strategy.

“We are continuously looking at innovative ways to provide affordable broadband access to our customers,” Beukes says.

Openserve believes that through this initiative, it will transform the current channel, process, pricing and product sets across its portfolio by making it easier for its clients to utilise, stimulate and connect the end customer on its larger broadband access network.

The company says the demand for affordable broadband connectivity has significantly grown as consumers adapt to the prolonged effects of COVID-19 and are utilising online services which include consumption of educational material, online video conferencing, movies, online gaming and over the top voice calling which all rely on having a consistent and reliable connection.

Continuing with its drive to provide cost-effective propositions and lead the fixed data and digital transformation journey in the country, Openserve will be launching its Openserve Pure Connect products across multiple speeds on its copper broadband network across South Africa.

It says this new product allows customers to directly obtain the broadband service from their ISPs and will no longer be required to obtain a copper line from Telkom Retail.

While Openserve continues to modernise its fixed infrastructure and upgrade its network, it believes its current copper broadband infrastructure is well positioned to be wholesaled where it is viable and available.

“This will certainly cater for the increased connectivity and consumption needs by providing an affordable and reliable service to our customers. This should also further support and stimulate online business and the economy at large,” says Beukes.

Openserve will provide further details to its clients and connectivity partners in the coming days and says it “is confident that though its comprehensive wholesale broadband access proposition it will be able to cater for the broadband connectivity and data consumption needs of the consumers”.