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SA risks undoing telecoms gains

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South Africa’s business parks run the risk of helping to undo the significant competition gains in the telecommunications sector over the past decade by failing to encourage diversity in the FTTB (fibre-to-the-building) market.

This is according to Rad Jankovic, CEO of independent telecoms provider Otel, who says: “While there are about 25 broadband FTTB providers in South Africa to choose from, we’re seeing an unfortunate trend where business parks are simply copying what the folks next door are doing. Not following the good business principle of securing three quotes is the quickest way to wreck years of hard-won telecoms market liberalisation.

“In the same way that many citizens advocate voting for smaller parties in national elections to encourage diversity in politics, business park owners and tenants should be encouraging the diversification of the FTTB market. The result at the end of the day will be a healthier and freer telecoms sector.”

Many of South Africa’s business parks are reliant on ADSL provided over copper which has speed and availability constraints compared to high-speed, always-available fibre optic underground cable delivered via FTTB rollouts.

“One of the benefits of smaller FTTB providers is their willingness to be flexible and design true bespoke offerings that the cast-in-stone Service Level Agreements (SLAs) churned out by the larger incumbents just cannot match,” Jankovic says.

OTEL’s FTTB solutions that are designed to increase profitability and reduce downtime include hosted PBX, free e-mail, server hosting, cloud computing, as well as call centre solutions including call recording and autodialing, amongst other value-added voice and data services.