Sometimes I wonder whether our local communications regulatory body has a clue or a backbone at all. When the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) eventually released their ADSL Regulations last year there was a requirement on local bandwidth which stated:
Local bandwidth usage shall not be subject to the cap.
According to a recent article our incumbent fixed line operator, Telkom, has taken the liberty to reinterpret the intention of the requirement to their own benefit. According to a supposed recent communication from Telkom to their reseller ISPs they state:
It is recommended that service providers allow local only access to continue even after the blended CAP was consumed by the customer.
What concerns me about a comment like that is the interpretation of a blended cap. I can only assume it means that the cap will be enforced based on both local and international bandwidth usage and thereafter their new product offerings can kick in whereby users will have to pay for usage of local bandwidth. The way I understood the ICASA requirement was that local bandwidth usage will not contribute to any cap on the service at all. So none of this blended cap rubbish, just the ability to use as much or as little local bandwidth for a fixed fee per month.
As some of the major ISPs have pointed out, Telkom’s proposed solution to the ICASA regulation is currently what most service providers are offering through alternate mechanisms. I also know a lot of home users that use seperate local and international ADSL accounts and route local network traffic through relatively inexpensive local accounts to avoid accumulating local usage against an expensive international bandwidth cap.
I can understand that international bandwidth is expensive so lets try and keep as many resources as possible local. The major ISPs already implement transparent HTTP proxy servers and some even offer relatively up-to-date mirror servers, but at the end of the day we need to do more to promote the saying that local is lekker.
I think Telkom has once again missed the boat.