Local Loop Unbundling has been a relevant and newsworthy industry topic for a while. Local Loop Unbundling, or LLU, refers to the process which would see the opening up of the “last mile” of copper cable leading into homes and business. This “last mile” is currently held by Telkom, with other industry players vying for its release to increase competitiveness within the industry.
— Internet Solutions (@IS_global) October 31, 2013
The regulations regarding LLU are being driven by ICASA, South Africa’s telecoms regulator. However this process has, in recent news, come under scrutiny by Internet Solutions (IS), one of the country’s leading ICT providers. A division of Dimension Data, IS was the first commercial ISP available in South Africa. IS has criticized ICASA’s draft regulations regarding LLU, saying that they are, “so vague and so broad as to be impossible to implement.” Siyabonga Madyibi, the company’s regulatory affairs executive has expressed concern that expert opinion and experience from within the industry hasn’t formed any of the input into the regulations. IS believes that such input would enable the formation of regulations that are both industry- and country-relevant.
In response to ICASA’s proposed LLU, Telkom has noted that it may have to decrease its investments in infrastructure and raise its prices if the regulations are approved. It would seem that ICASA is coming under fire from both sides of the LLU argument. South Africa’s Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA) has expressed its unhappiness at Telkom’s response to the proposed LLU and has criticised Telkom’s CEO for reportedly saying that LLU would amount to Telkom “subsidising” competitors who wanted to “ride on Telkom’s network.”
— MyBroadband (@mybroadband) June 7, 2013
Amongst all the news on the topic of LLU and the many opinions surrounding it, the real question is whether all industry players are able and willing to view it as a healthy advancement within the industry, and whether the necessary regulations can be put in place to support this view.