Report: Regulations will open SA broadband market

ICT market analyst, BMI-TechKnowledge Group, has announced the release of its latest publication: The future of broadband in South Africa (SA).

The report expects the regulatory changes recently initiated to open up the market, allowing variety of products to become available to the consumers. Iain Machanick, analyst at BMI-T and co-author of the report, says that Internet access market is set for a shake-up in the coming three years.

“Many of the more sophisticated dial-up subscribers, including small-office/home-office users, and possibly even some leased-line users, are expected to migrate to ADSL and Fixed Wireless Access (fixed wireless). We expect fixed wireless to generate renewed interest in the Internet access market, and the success of fixed wireless will be determined by the infrastructure roll-out, service delivery by the operators, and availability at competitive price points.”

BMI-T expects that wireless access technologies will also begin to expand their role in future as a complementary access mechanism in corporate WANs.

“Some companies will also migrate some applications from leased line services to broadband. Initially, this will occur mainly in the area of Internet access, primarily in mid-sized organizations. In time, as fixed wireless-based services similar to those of Telkom SA Ltd.’s Diginet begin to emerge from competitors, SA companies will increasingly adopt this alternative in cases where it is both widely available and more economical than an equivalent wired solution,” adds Machanick.

Important factors impacting on the Internet access market include:

— Telkom launching its long awaited ADSL service and the probability that it will offer additional ADSL products;

— Icasa granting Sentech Pty Ltd. a licence to provide broadband Internet access to customers in the form of its MyWireless product suite;

— Telkom’s announcement of its intention to offer WiMax and VDSL in 2005;

— The possible start-up of the SNO in the next six months, which is expected to offer wireless access services;

— Mobile cellular operators starting to offer higher speed wireless connections;

— Clarification by Icasa on the regulatory status of Wi-Fi and the development of public hotspots, and use in the LAN environment.