MWEB’s Free the Web (FTW) initiative has taken up the cause of Naked ADSL, calling on South Africans to take a stand and add their vote to remove mandatory landline billing with ADSL lines.
Derek Hershaw, CEO MWEB ISP, says: “With Uncapped ADSL finally becoming the norm for fixed line access, the time has come for Free the Web to focus on the next cause. So we’re asking consumers to take a stand and call for Naked ADSL.”
“There are currently three costs associated with having ADSL connectivity in South Africa: the ADSL line rental; the cost of the ADSL data; and the cost of the landline rental from Telkom,” says Hershaw.
As Telkom is bundling the landline with the ADSL line, consumers are unable to subscribe to an ADSL-only service, where they just rent the ADSL line and pay for data usage. If they want ADSL, customers are forced to also pay the rental fee for the landline, irrespective of whether they use the line for voice calls. Although our voice lines do currently subsidise a portion of our ADSL line costs, consumers should still see a reduction in costs if you didn’t have to have a landline.
“Since a landline is not required for ADSL connectivity, Naked ADSL calls for Telkom to unbundle landlines from ADSL lines, ensuring that ADSL customers who don’t want a telephone line don’t end up having to pay for one unnecessarily,” says Hershaw.
The Naked ADSL issue was once again brought to light at the recent Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) hearings held by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA). These hearings discussed opening last mile access to the copper ADSL infrastructure, which is currently owned by Telkom. LLU would mean more competition within the Internet Service Provider space, which would benefit consumers.
MWEB sees Naked ADSL as being a step closer to complete LLU, as LLU is expected to be a very lengthy process.
“The FTW initiative has therefore taken up the call for Naked ADSL. South Africans can visit the FreeTheWebSA facebook page, watch a quick video which explains the concept and campaign, and show their support for Naked ADSL via an Appeal Mosaic,” he says.
The mosaic will feature a visual representation of South Africa’s call for Naked ADSL and will allow people who have already made their mark to spread the word and grow the petition by sharing the mosaic with their friends, further spreading the message.
“Naked ADSL is another step in the process of driving down the cost of connectivity. It’s also about the right to only pay for something if you want to use it which is completely logical,” Hershaw concludes.
MWEB originally devised the FTW initiative to champion change in how South Africa connects to the Internet and to provide a platform for South Africans to come together and work towards a local Internet landscape that’s aligned with international benchmarks. MWEB’s pioneering launch of uncapped, unthrottled ADSL for just R219 per month (data only costs on a 384kpbs line speed) in March 2010 followed closely on the launch of FTW.