It's been a little whlie since the last update. Interesting things have been happening with the state of broadband rollout
in South Africa. With the latest version of the checker, Telkom seem to have changed the way they report ADSL speeds.
As noted in a previous post, the checker now reports ADSL speeds rather than the maximum speed an exchange reports.
From our understanding of the data Telkom are now doing one of the following:
Providing an estimate of speed based on the physical location the phone number maps to
Being convervative with regards to ADSL estimates
In the first case this would involve a calculation based on the distance of the premise from the exchange. Based on the DLSAM in the exchange and this distance Telkom could estimate what speed you would receive. In the second case, Telkom could be basing the speeds on the existing sync speeds achieved by users in that exchange. It is up to the reader to decide what they think is happening.
For those of you with keen eyes, this explains the discrepancy between an exchange being reported as 10Mbps enabled
but dispaying a max ADSL speed of less than 10Mbps, for example .
Though it has become trickier to determine what speed each exchange supports it is still possible to see which exchanges
are enabled or not. Over the last 4 months, 5 new exchanges have been enabled for ADSL. This brings us to roughly 50% (987)
of exchanges enabled .
About a year ago we launched a set of heat maps with the state of ADSL rollout . So what has happened in the last year? Checkout  for the new maps.
With the rollout of the newest Telkom ADSL checker  in late November of last year (2011) users were finally able to see more precise speed capabilities of their exchanges. We moved rapidly to adopt the newest checker and integrate this extra data into the stats. As a quality assurance mesaure we ran the new checker in sandbox mode which allowed us to develop new features and gauge the data being returned to us.
During this sandboxing it became apparent that the newest ADSL Checker was returning some interesting results. For example, phone numbers which had previosuly indicated an exchange was ADSL enabled now returned ADSL not enabled. If it had been one or two exchanges this would not have been a huge issue. Unfortunately, approximately 150 exchanges were now being reported as disabled! With such a large discrepancy further investigation was needed. After careful analysis and testing it turned out that a number of factors were affecting the results:
Phone numbers being disconnected
Further phone numbers required to get line speed
Some exchanges incorrectly reported as enabled by previous checkers
After applying these fixes the list of exchanges no-longer enabled sits at 52. As we cannot find any proof that these exchanges are enabled, according to the new checker, they have have been marked as not-enabled. Please let us know if you can provide a case which proves they are. The list of exchanges no longer enabled is attached .
As of today we have rolled out updates to the site which include:
ADSL Speed on Exchange pages
The latest exchange updates
As we currently monitor around 2000 exchanges we are working to mitigate the above issues with the checker.
Telkom has been asked for a comment on this but unfortunately none has been forthcoming
To give you a taste for the breakdown in ADSL enablement by speed the following chart depicts the total number of exchanges in each ADSL speed bracket. Note: 0 Indicates not enabled
Figure 1 - Breakdown of Exchanges/ADSL Speed (Click image for larger)
As well as running the BroadbandStats website over the last five months or so we have also been running a separate site to compare broadband prices in South Africa . Both sites are impartial but have been kept seperate, splitting ADSL statistics and products. That said it does seem a shame to have all that information and not create a few stats from it! All data used for these charts is available as a download from [2, 3]. Note the provider names have been removed as this is intended as an overview of the market not a provider comparison.
Fixed-line ADSL Uncapped Products
The first data set we are going to look at is the Fixed-line ADSL Uncapped products. For this sample we used seven different providers with each provider having between 2 to 25 uncapped products. There are quite a few variations in products due to some providers differentiating by shapped/unshapped and line speed. This set of data gives a pretty good indication of the overall market (data set available from ).
The red line indicates the cost of a Telkom ADSL line. ADSL packages can come included with the Telkom line this is indicated by the green line. As you can see, where available, it is a little bit cheaper to get the ADSL line included with your broadband.
The most interesting line is the blue one. This gives the average cost of a monthly contract for the different speed points. From 384Kbps to 4096Kbps we see little fluctuation, it may seem strange some that 2048Kbps is on average slightly cheaper than a 1024Kbps line. This is due to a number of outlier cases which are more apparent in the next analysis.Looking at the final point for 10Mbps broadband we see a significant price jump! To move up from 4Mbps to 10Mbps costs a bit of a premium...
Figure 1 - Uncapped Products (Click image for larger)
Fixed-line ADSL 10GB Capped Products
The second data set is the Fixed-line ADSL 10GB Capped Products. The reason this was chosen is that it seems to be one of the most popular from a provider and consumer perspective. People choose it quite a bit on the comparison website. For this sample 7 suppliers with between 1 to 12 products were used.
The average price gives a rather strange looking chart; the 512Kbps products are significantly more expensive than the 1Mbps (Figure 2)! As before outliers are having an impact on the chart. Looking at the max price (Figure 3) it is easy to see that there are a few rather expensive products in this price range, skewing the chart. Thankfully looking at the minimum prices (Figure 4) it is easy to see there are a couple of bargains to be had!
Figure 2 - 10Gb Capped Products - Average (Click image for larger)
Figure 3 - 10Gb Capped Products - Max (Click image for larger)
Figure 4 - 10Gb Capped Products - Min (Click image for larger)
It is worth pointing out that this is not a scientific study and as such the results should be taken with a pinch of salt. Not every single South African provider is used and prices change regularly, that said this analysis was done just after a review of the providers prices. Secondly when doing a comparison many factors other than price come into play. Customer support, free extras and the cost of using extra bandwidth can make or break a choice