Telkom’s Maseko talks broadband at Davos

Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko says the group is forging ahead with its commercially led broadband plan, modernising its network, and investing in fibre to the home.

Maseko was speaking to Talk 702 at Davos, in Switzerland, where he is attending the World Economic Forum annual meeting.

The chief executive said that, while the Department of Communications (DoC) is driving its broadband policy, “as Telkom, we are going ahead with what we call a commercially led broadband plan, modernising our network, we are investing in fibre to the home, especially in the big metropolitan areas, and that is going quite well.”

“We are running pilots recently in the Rosebank, Bryanston and Waterkloof area in Pretoria, and we are starting to see speeds of up to about 70,80,90 megabits per second. So that begins to tell us that the modernisation plan and process network is gaining momentum,” Maseko said.

In November, Telkom earmarked the end of 2014 as a date for the commercial launch of fibre to the home, with the trial of a 100Mbps offering “proceeding well”.

Maseko said that he was encouraged by government’s ability to bring all the parties together to set a course for policy in the communication sector.

He noted that Telkom will play a central role going forward due to the ubiquitousness of its network. “I’m pretty hopeful that by the end of the first quarter of the calendar year, there will be a much clearer direction in terms of exactly how are going to do this.

“But as Telkom, we are not waiting, we are sort of saying that in the big Metrpolitan areas, we are pressing right ahead with the modernisation of our network,” Maseko said.

Yunus Carrim
Yunus Carrim

Speaking to the same radio station at the Swiss ski resort town, Communications Minister Yunus Carrim said that on the 4 December, cabinet decided on a broadband policy strategy called South Africa Connect.

He said that the DoC would appoint a broadband council “next week” which would include a range of experts from industry government, society, and universities.

He said that government was on course to begin to roll out broadband “very swiftly over the period ahead,” adding that “we can’t do this alone” noting that it must involve partnerships with the private sector.

Carrim admitted that government has not acted as fast as it should have on broadband.

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Telkom’s Maseko talks broadband at Davos