Don’t hold your breath
Clarity on ADSL a long way off
WITH BROADBAND still dominating the psyche of the South African IT community, Icasa could be preparing to revisit the fundamentally flawed ADSL regulations issued in August last year – or maybe not.
While Icasa councillor Mamodupi Mohlala denied on 25 January that the regulator was revisiting the regulations, chairman Paris Mashile, speaking on SABC3’s Interface programme just three days later, said he had “activated the committee that was operational last year to look at it”.
Whatever is happening, Icasa seems unable or unwilling to rectify the situation that has led to local broadband prices far outstripping international benchmarks.
At the heart of the problem is the ability of the telecoms regulator to handle complaints that focus mainly on Telkom’s inability to install an ADSL service in under 30 days as stipulated in the regulations (section 3.6), as well as the requirement that Telkom and the other ADSL players enter into a service-level agreement with their clients (section 8) governing complaints procedures, dispute resolution, repair times, penalties for breaching the service level agreement and minimum speeds.
Icasa has so far been unable to process a single complaint dealing with the ADSL regulations, which appears to have resulted from delays in implementing the provisions of the Icasa Amendment Act, which came into effect in July last year.
The Act allows for the creation of a committee to hear all complaints in areas under Icasa’s umbrella. Icasa was unable to give Finweek details of the timeframe for this committee to become operational.
If Icasa was pinning its hopes on this committee to clarifiy ADSL regulations, it needs to move quickly to have it constituted.
The committee’s task is not going to be easy as the complexity of complaints, not just regarding ADSL regulations, but across the board, is likely to increase dramatically.
The main concern is that the inabil- ity of Icasa to process even elementary requests at present indicates that instead of the big stick the regulator should be carrying it appears to only just be able to handle a walking stick.
Looking at it. Paris Mashile