The Internet Service Providers’ Association of SA (ISPA) says the announcement last week by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) that wholesale ADSL IPConnect (IPC) prices will be dropped by 30% is a welcome first step in the right direction.

“ISPA notes that ICASA has worked incredibly hard to realise this reduction which is a good first step towards more affordable broadband in South Africa. As with all things worthwhile the first step is the hardest. However, the difficulty in getting this far should not detract from the necessity of going even further, even faster,” says Marc Furman, co-chair of ISPA.

Effective from 1 April 2012, the development is a positive outcome for ISPA’s members.

“The costs associated with providing broadband services have remained stubbornly high for several years. The 30% IPC reduction by ICASA means that ISPs now have greater flexibility in setting prices for broadband services. This is good for the industry and for consumers. ISPA is very happy with ICASA’s good work on the IPC pricing regime,” Furman says.

A number of ISPs have already announced reduced pricing as a result of the rate cut.

One of the latest is @lantic, which now offers bundles starting at R99 per month for 5GB.

“Telkom’s announcement that it will drop its wholesale ASDL rate to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) by as much as 30% is a step in the right direction,” says @lantic’s Dederick Venter. “But we still have a long way to go before South Africans get truly affordable internet. The wholesale price is just one element of the total cost of ASDL: There’s also the Telkom line rental cost (the famous ‘last mile’) as well as local and international bandwidth costs.

“At @lantic, we have been expecting the rate reduction for a while and dropped the price of our consumer ADSL packages even before it was announced,” says Venter. “Our revised packages include a range of Anytime data products, such as the ADSL Anytime 10GB for R149 per month with access to the web anytime of the day, or our more customised service, the ADSL 626, a 10GB pre-paid data package for use between 6pm and 6am. These packages are available to anyone, not just @lantic customers.”
He adds that consumers will need to pay careful attention in the next few months, as new, competing and superficially attractive offerings come onto the market. Consumers should make sure they understand what the service entails, how much data is available and – and, most importantly, at what cost.