I recently had the good fortune to be able to convince my family to move to Uncapped ADSL instead of suffering with crummy 3G towers for their internet fix. At 1Mb/s, my connection doesn’t set pants on fire, but it’s been more than enough for the Windows updates, occasional downloads, Youtube, Skype and online multi-player.
I had my father order the line through the local Telkom shop on a Tuesday. Three days later the line was activated and I could go through the motions of activating the line and getting everything working. I sync at the full 1Mb/s speeds, and thanks to the new telephone lines running underground in our area I don’t have to worry about cable theft or the chance of flood damage or signal degradation thanks to strong winds. So far, Telkom’s held up their end of the deal.
But for users with ADSL with more money to spare, the maximum you’ll be able to go today is 10Mb/s, if at all. Telkom launched their highest-speed DSL package over two years ago, but still many ADSL subscribers aren’t capable of this speed. Telkom accepts a definition of up to 15% of its subscribers being near 10Mb/s exchanges and syncing properly as classification that 10Mb/s is a success.
Over at MyBroadband, there’s some talk that Samsung is convincing Telkom to go ahead with their 40Mb/s trials. Telkom has already started trialing 20Mb/s in commercial areas in the larger cities, and with their Very High Bitrate DSL (VDSL) service, it might actually bring a good, stable connection to many communities and businesses. But what’s Samsung’s involvement in this?
Their new line of Smart TVs (yes, I know, those are perfect for Eyefinity/Nvidia Surround!) aren’t very smart here in sunny SA. For those who have a 4Mb/s connection, Samsung’s video-on-demand service is excruciatingly slow for true HD content. At the outset, VDSL should provide a 10Mb/s connection, but the potential is there for up to 80Mb/s local links in future. Telkom should be releasing Fastest 20Mb/s DSL by 2015, but heaven knows how much it’ll cost. In any case, Samsung Smart TV sets require a 10Mb/s connection for each TV, with a 40Mb/s connection for DSTV PVR-like functionality while still allowing for voice and regular internet access. HD content takes a lot of bandwidth, and if they want their product to be successful, the landing country must have a proper internet connection available for their customers.
In the meantime, DSL users should thank their lucky stars that our country does a lot of trade with China and other Asian countries. Under normal circumstances, Telkom wouldn’t budge even for the Soccer World Cup, and in fact closed all communications improvements to their network during that period. All the while, Cell C and Vodacom are trialing 40Mb/s connections, with MTN already actively deploying 28.8Mb/s HSPDA+ towers in major metropolitan areas.
Will that mean that 384DSL subscribers might finally get a boost? (hint: they’ve been at that same speed since 2007)