The Telecoms Action Group (TAG) has expressed disappointment at the continued failure of the South African department of communications and the minister of communications, Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, to speed up the pace of telecommunications reform in the country.
In her budget vote in parliament yesterday, the minister granted Telkom until November 2011 to unbundle the local-loop, the final connection between homes and businesses and their relevant exchanges.
By giving yet another four years to Telkom to complete this process the minister is effectively perpetuating Telkom's monopoly over fixed-line end-user services and making it impossible for real competition to develop in the telecommunications sector, says a statement from TAG.
"As long as Telkom maintains its monopoly over the local-loop, third party operators are not able to provide services over the existing copper infrastructure and it prevents the growth of competItive services entering the market market," reads the statement.
"We continually hear from the minister how the pace of telecommunications reform should be speeded up but we see no tangible evidence of this happening. In her budget speech last year the process of unbundling the local-loop was given priority status and yet that has had no effect.
"TAG believes that, as a 38% shareholder in Telkom, the department of communications is in a unique position to transform the telecommunications sector in this country. But, to date, there is no evidence that there is the political will to do so."