The Internet Service Providers' Association of South Africa (ISPA) has posted a working document on its Web site with the hope of stimulating discussion about how certain broadband-related terms, including 'broadband' itself should be defined.
The document, available at http://ispa.org.za/Broadband-Guidelines-1.01, provides a set of guidelines and recommendations for broadband terms with the aim of providing clarity to industry, consumers, IT journalists and advertising authorities.
The document is not prescriptive and is not intended to be legally binding on ISPA members or to oblige ISPs to market their services in any specific manner. Instead, it aims to create a shared understanding of what service providers mean by terms such as "uncapped", "shaped" and "broadband" in their product marketing. Broadband, for example, is defined as "a service which provides access to the Internet with a minimum download speed of 256 kbps."
Ant Brooks, GM of ISPA, comments: "One of the most important principles for marketing of broadband services is clear communication with consumers about the products they are buying. To that end, we believe that clearer definition of certain broadband terms will help users better understand which services will best meet their needs and what services will cost them.
"ISPA strongly believes that this will be to the benefit of both ISPA members and consumers of broadband services. We hope to spark debate with the industry since this is a living document that will evolve as services and technology change."