Telkom aims high with twofold pay-TV strategy

Robert Laing

Robert Laing

Local households are familiar with satellite pay-TV from MultiChoice. Telkom's R7,5billion plan to enter this market includes introducing a new technology called Internet Protocol Television (IPTV).

Telkom's 66percent-owned subsidiary Telkom Media has applied to government regulator Independent Authority of South Africa (Icasa) for both a satellite and an IPTV licence.

Telkom is following in the footsteps of Deutsche Telekom, which offers an IPTV service in Germany. Winning back revenue lost to mobile phone services by using their landline infrastructure for pay-TV is a general trend among telephone companies worldwide.

IPTV is more akin to the cable TV services available in the US than traditional Internet. The technology Telkom proposes to use involves upgrading its current ADSL broadband service to newer and faster ADSL 2 Plus. This will make the video-carrying ability of standard copper telephone wire similar to that of coaxial cable used by US pay-TV companies. But a household must be close enough to an exchange that supports ADSL 2 Plus.