Telkom-broadbandTelkom is showcasing its latest innovation at the MyBroadband conference taking place at Gallagher Estate. This innovation is part of Telkom’s investment in its network transformation programme and aggressive mobile rollout plan.

The company is demonstrating the results of its technical trials into high speed fixed internet over a 100Mbps GPON based line, as well as showing mobile broadband over 200Mbps LTE Advanced Carrier Aggregation air interface.

These types of speeds would offer superb quality for most customers. By aggregating two carriers (40MHz) of its 60MHz spectrum, Telkom is able to offer over 200Mbps on the air interface per sector.

These are the highest speeds ever achieved on these platforms in South Africa and Telkom is the first local telecoms player to achieve these speeds, true to its roadmap to improve headline speeds and work towards achieving bandwidth abundance.

There has been a surge in the demand for interactive content internationally and South Africa is following suit. This includes connected home type applications such as content and CCTV, and business applications such as video conferencing and superior voice over internet. Video content will be the key driver of the move away from linear content.

As part of its trial, Telkom is testing different types of content, including, streaming, pay-per-view and trickle-feed from various content providers such as iTunes on AppleTV, Boxxee, YouTube, DStv Boxoffice online, DStv Catchup and Samsung SmartHub. Telkom’s strategy is to create platforms that will enable innovations such as Internet Protocol TV to be realised in South Africa.

“Our introduction of high speed access is a roadmap designed to leapfrog South Africa to bandwidth abundance, together with high quality internet,” says Dr Brian Armstrong, Group Chief Operating Officer at Telkom. “While these speeds are impressive, Telkom business and residential customers would be able to access much of the interactive content that such speeds open up anyway, however this offers a glimpse into the future of broadband in South Africa.”

Current download speeds of Telkom’s LTE typically range from 20Mbps to 50Mbps, although top speeds can go as high as 90Mbps. Upload speeds range from 5Mps to 10Mbps with top speeds of 25Mbps. This translates to speeds at least double those of typical 3G networks.

The technological advantages of LTE make it a complementary enabler to xDSL for future broadband access, particularly for developing economies like South Africa. Wireless broadband and LTE in particular, could play a crucial role in the roll-out of the last mile in rural areas as part of the National Broadband Plan.

Telkom’s LTE network performs particularly well because it was purpose built on the 2300 MHz spectrum on an all-IP network. Unlike some of the country’s other mobile operators that have had to ‘refarm’ some of their existing spectrum, the deployment of LTE is on a dedicated frequency and different to that which existing mobile technologies such as voice are deployed.

With the unique qualities of fixed and wireless mobile broadband Telkom has taken a holistic approach to providing broadband services, with 2G for basic access via feature phones, 3G for smartphones, LTE for high speed and quality mobile broadband services, and fixed for reliable high-bandwidth services.

Supply of international fibre bandwidth around Africa has grown by over 300 times in the 15 year period before 2009 and a further 20 times in the last three years.

LTE Advanced is expected to become commercially available by mid-2014.