LLU benefits “unsubstantiated” - Telkom

October 13, 2011 9:27 am 0 comments

Telkom has blasted “unsubstantiated” comments on how Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) will increase competition, reduce broadband prices and generate revenue for all operators.

Speaking during the LLU public hearings held by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) - the operator says LLU advocates still need to explain the benefits of LLU to rural and under-serviced areas and reveal the costs involved.

“There is a universal understanding that LLU implementation is a complex issue and counter-productive. It should come as no surprise that Telkom is against LLU,” says head of regulatory affairs, Andrew Barendse.

LLU is the regulatory process of allowing multiple telecommunications operators to lease the Local Loop, which is that portion of a network which connects the subscriber to the balance of an ECNS licensee’s Electronic Communications Network.

According to ICASA, the successful implementation of LLU has the potential to achieve increased broadband penetration; reduced consumer prices and increased quantity and quality of services; while maximising benefits in terms of choice and quality.

Telkom says the industry must be wary of getting the unintended results by unbundling the local loop. In its presentation, it asked how LLU would promote SA development – adding that the regulator and operators need to ask if the process could increase the digital divide.

The operator added that LLU would not support government’s universal broadband access objectives.

Barendse added that Telkom – as the biggest employer in the sector – would risk job losses if it supported the process. He also argued that costs incurred by Telkom during LLU should be funded by operators seeking access. Eugene Morokolo

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