Telkom’s is about to connect its 200 000th customer to its 4-10 Mbps ADSL service.

“This is the result of clear and focused set of efforts to deliver on our Broadband strategy,” says Bashier Sallie , MD of Telkom Wholesale and Networks. “In simple terms we have set out to upgrade the speed of entry level and mid-range broadband access, whilst building out the footprint for our high speed broadband.”

In a country where the potential fixed broadband customer base is relatively dispersed, uptake and utilisation levels are crucial to building out a substantial footprint and driving down the cost to serve.

Sallie points to Telkom’s recent announcement to upgrade 384kbps to 1Mbps and 1Mbps to 2Mpbs. “The news of the upgrades were well received and is keenly anticipated by our customers,” he says.

“We are hard at work and on track to complete the upgrades in the next 60 to 90 days. These upgrades together the brisk demand for our 4-10Mbps bodes well for the commencement of our high-speed broadband pilots.”

The usage of fixed line broadband data has grown exponentially since the introduction of uncapped data usage.

“Our customers love fixed line broadband. I’ve observed the evolution of broadband usage in my own home over the past few years. If the service is down, which is not often, then there is mini crisis in my home! We have a couple of PC’s, three tablets and four smartphones all set up to use fixed broadband to access the internet in the home zone, either via cable connection to the modem or WiFi with the aim of optimising mobile data usage. Also leveraging the quality of service and speed of a fixed line broadband service especially for large downloads or a latency sensitive application is key.

“So it’s not just a case of 200 000 10Mbps connections – it’s important to understand the one-to-many or multiplier application of fixed broadband. I would say on average four people have the use of a fixed broadband connection in the home, in small and medium business this is probably significantly higher. The proliferation of tablets and smartphones has been a boon for fixed broadband stickiness,” adds Sallie.

In March 2012, Telkom announced the start of a journey towards a future-proof network, based on a comprehensive set of network interventions.

Telkom aims to increase our Multi Services Access Node (MSAN) rollout to 3700 points of presence in the country. This new generation fibre access node will enable VDSL2 and xPON speeds.

“We are on schedule in building out our pilot footprint and will make the detail available in the next couple of weeks,” Sallie says.